What a difference a week makes! Last week, on the same courts at the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre in Adelaide, Britain’s No.3 Jack Draper thumped Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon in the first round of the first Adelaide International for the loss of just three games.
I’m just really happy to win today... Last week he played very well, so I tried to just enjoy this match and tried to be positive. I tried to be more aggressive. Soonwoo Kwon
On Friday, Kwon turned the tables on the Brit as he prevented Draper from any chance of winning his first title, when he defeated him the semi-final of the second Adelaide International, 7-6(6) 6-7(2) 6-3.
In fact Kwon delivered a high-quality display of baseline hitting over two-hours and 45-minutes to clinch a place in the final where he will face the Spanish veteran Roberto Bautista-Agut, the fourth seed who had to battle past the local hero Thanasi Kokkinakis over two=hours and 31-minutes to clinch his place 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3.
Kwon, who qualified for last weeks’ event and lost in the final qualifying round to Tomas Machac for this week’s, gained his place in the draw as a Lucky Loser and immediately avenged his loss by dispatching Machac in the opening round 6-4 6-4.
He then went on to beat the second seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 3-6 6-4 6-4 and Sweden’s Mikael Ymer 6-1 6-2 before going on to gain his revenge over Draper and make the championships round.
“It was a very difficult match today,” said Kwon when asked about how he had kept going in his marathon with Draper in the Adelaide heat. “I’m just really happy to win today… Last week he played very well, so I tried to just enjoy this match and tried to be positive. I tried to be more aggressive.”
The world No. 84 struck 44 winners to his opponent’s 36, and he also excelled whenever he came under pressure on serve — Kwon saved nine of 10 break points he faced en route to levelling his head-to-head record with Draper at 1-1.
Kwon is the first Lucky Loser to reach the final in Adelaide’s tournament history, with six editions of the event played since 2020.