Soonwoo Kwon, who made the main draw of the Adelaide II International via a Lucky Loser card, made the most of his opportunity by going all the way to the title by beating Roberto Bautista Agut in what proved to be an exciting final.
Kwon, from South Korea, had lost in the second round of qualifying after losing in the opening round of the event played last week at the same venue.
This week he cleared the first hurdle comfortably defeating the Czech player Tomas Machac 6-4 6-4 and then beating the second seed Pablo Carreno Busta, Sweden’s Mikael Ymer and then the rising British 21-year-old star Jack Draper, who had beaten him the previous week, to make the title round.
There the 25-year-old outlasted the experienced Spaniard over 2-hours and 43-minutes to win the second title of his career 6-4 3-6 7-6(4) in a match that could have gone either way.
Kwon broke the Spaniard’s first service game then used his powerful shot-making, his forehand in particular, to close out the first set.
Bautista Agut struck back immediately, breaking Kwon at the start of the second set by lifting his own service percentages to level the match at one set apiece.
When the 35-year-old jumped into a 3-0 lead in the decider it seemed all over, but Kwon dug deep and broke back, forcing the set to a tiebreak.
There two traded shots until at 4-3 in Bautista Agut’s favour, only for the Spaniard to falter allowing Kwon to claim the next four points and close out the match.
Kwon becomes the first player from his country to win multiple titles and his success in Adelaide will lift him to a career high of 52 in the world rankings.