Kwon Downs Bublik To Reach Astana Open Final

Soonwoo Kwon (photo: Kazakhstan Tennis Federation)

NUR-SULTAN/STARNBERG, September 25, 2021

Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea and Australian James Duckworth, two first-time finalists on the ATP Tour, will meet in Sunday’s championship match of the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

Kwon upset home favourite and No. 2 seed Alexander Bublik 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Saturday afternoon. The World No. 82 withstood 26 aces and broke Bublik’s serve three times to secure victory in two hours and one minute.

“I am really happy to win today, it’s also my coach’s birthday,” Kwon said. “Alexander is a tricky opponent, I like it. I just tried to focus on every single point. I will do my best tomorrow.”

Duckworth wins in straight sets

Earlier in the day, Duckworth eliminated No. 8 seed Ilya Ivashka from Belarus 6-3, 7-6(4). The 29-year-old from Sydney won 52 per cent of the total points played to prevail after two hours and two minutes.

“I am really excited,” said Duckworth. “I am thrilled. It was a really tough match. Ilya has been playing some great tennis this year. We have played twice already this year, both times went to three sets.

“I knew it was going to be really difficult but I managed to win that second set in a tie-break. it was a very close set that could have gone either way. I think I played the big points well.”

Duckworth, a winner of 12 ATP Challenger singles titles, will meet Kwon for the first time.

It will be a tough match,” the World No. 65 said. “Kwon is more of a baseliner. I will have to be ready. I am just going to recover the best I can and come out tomorrow and see what happens.”

Sunday’s action will begin with the doubles final when top seeds Santiago Gonzalez from Mexico and Andres Molteni of Argentina will take on Jonathan Erlich from Israel and Andrei Vasilevski of Belarus.