Lucky loser Kwon claims historic ATP title

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Lucky loser Soonwoo Kwon has become a deserved winner, prevailing in a fluctuating Adelaide International 2 final against Roberto Bautista Agut.

The South Korean lost in qualifying for the event but was a late call-up for the first round.

He made the most of it, combining aggressive stroke play with a keen resolve to find a way past the irrepressible Spaniard 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-4) on Saturday night.

The win made him the only South Korean to win multiple ATP titles and came after he looked gone, down 0-2 and facing a double break in the deciding set.

But the 25-year-old world No.84 held serve then broke back, the players then trading breaks again before the underdog stepped up again in the tie-break.

“So many people are watching in TV in Korea, thanks to the fans in here, supporting me,” a bashful Kwon said before addressing his fans in Korean.

It was an 11th final loss for 34-year-old, world No.26 Agut, who had ended local hope Thanasi Kokkinakis’s run in the semi-finals a day earlier.

Kwon won just three games in a first-round loss in last week’s Adelaide tournament, then lost in qualifying for the second event.

But the 2021 Nur-Saltan champion jagged a spot as a replacement and then blazed away, with a first-round Australian Open date with world No.123 Christopher Eubanks his next task.

“He played an amazing final, we played a nice match and I wish him luck,” Bautista Agut said.

“I always play good tennis here, now it’s time to think of Melbourne.”

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