Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea beat fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 3-6 7-6 in a pulsating final at the ATP Adelaide International to win his second tour-level title on Saturday. The 25-year-old Korean, who actually lost in the final round of qualfying, excelled in the main draw in South Australia and will surely now be one of the men to watch at the upcoming at the upcoming Australian Open. But what were the keys to his win?
#1 Kwon played to his strengths
There were a couple of shots that Kwon used repeatedly to cause the 34-year-old Spaniard a lot of trouble. The first was the inside-out forehand, a shot he also used really well in his semifinal win over Jack Draper, and the second was his cross-court backhand. Tellingly, both shots pushed Bautista Agut into his backhand corner where he struggled to defend. Kwon made a fine start by breaking Bautista Agut in the very first game of the match and then continued to hold his serve to see out the first set.
#2 Kwon holds firm under pressure
Bautista Agut played his relatively error-free and low-risk game, waiting for the Korean to make mistake. It did not pay off in the first set, but Bautista Agut was not deterred by that reversal. Instead, he bounced back immediately in the second set, winning the first three games of the set and striking some excellent backhand passing shots when Kwon came to the net.
Bautista Agut won the second set and then went up 3-1 in the deciding set. However, Kwon hit back with a break of his own to level the score. The contest continued to swing back and forth as the players exchanged breaks once again. The decider eventually went a tiebreak and Kwon led 6-4 with a mini-break. Kwon then rushed the net on the match point and Bautista Agut hit his down-the-line backhand wide in an effort to pass the Korean, with Kwon’s greater aggression eventually paying off.
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