ATP Nur-Sultan: James Duckworth and Soonwoo Kwon chase first ATP title



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ATP Nur-Sultan: James Duckworth and Soonwoo Kwon chase first ATP title

The 23-year-old Korean Soonwoo Kwon is through to his first ATP final in Nur-Sultan thanks to a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 triumph over the 2nd seed Alexander Bublik. The home star claimed the opening set before losing ground in the closing stages of the second and allowing Kwon to topple him in the third and advance into the title clash.

Soonwoo played better behind the second serve and defended eight out of ten break chances to keep the pressure on Alexander. The Kazakh fired 26 aces, but it was not enough to carry him through, suffering three breaks and finishing his campaign in the semis.

Bublik barely lost a point behind the initial shot in the opening set and grabbed a break at 4-3 following a lucky net cord forehand winner. Alexander fires an ace in the ninth game to bring the opener home and gather a boost ahead of set number two.

Soonwoo Kwon and James Duckworth are through to Nur-Sultan final.

Soonwoo broke in the second game and defended five break chances in the next one before Alexander seized the six to get back on track. The Korean saved a break point in the ninth game with an ace and grabbed his second break at 6-5 thanks to Bublik's wild second serve to introduce a decider.

With momentum on his side, the Korean produced fine holds and broke in the third game with a return winner that the Kazakh let down inside the court. Bublik saved a match point on serve in game eight before Kwon sealed the deal with a backhand down the line winner in the next one to advance into the first ATP final.

The 29-year-old James Duckworth is also the first-time ATP finalist, beating the 8th seed Ilya Ivashka 6-3, 7-6 in two hours and two minutes. The Aussie saved five out of six break chances and grabbed a couple of breaks that carried him through after a strong performance in the second set's tie break.

Duckworth broke in the fourth game of the opening set and held at 30 in game nine to wrap it up and gain confidence. Rivals traded breaks in the second set's games four and five, and James fended off two set points on serve at 4-5.

He claimed the tie break 7-4 after forcing the opponent's error to achieve the first ATP final after numerous setbacks and surgeries.