Kwon Soon-woo reaches second round at Australian Open
Kwon Soon-woo won his first Australian Open match on Monday, defeating Holger Rune of Denmark after a hard-fought five sets that lasted three hours and five minutes.
In the opening round of the Australian Open, Kwon conceded the first set to Rune 6-3, but bounced back to win the second set 6-4. The Dutch player took the third set 6-3, but Kwon pushed the game to a fifth set by winning the fourth set 6-3. After three hours and five minutes, Kwon won the last set 6-2.
It was Kwon’s serve that gave him the upper-hand, as he had 15 aces to Rune’s 12.
Kwon is currently the highest-ranked tennis player in Korea, at No. 54, but he has never previously reached the second round of the Australian Open. In 2018, 2020 and 2021, Kwon qualified for the event but was knocked out in the first round all three times.
Kwon’s best-ever finish at a Grand Slam tournament came in June last year, when he advanced to the third round of the French Open. Only two Koreans, Chung Hyeon and Lee Hyung-taik, had previously reached the third round in Paris, and neither made it any further.
With Monday's win, Kwon has now reached the second round in all four Grand Slam events. He reached the second round at the U.S. Open in 2020 and at Wimbledon in 2021, and the third round at the French Open in 2021.
Kwon now faces a tough challenge in world No. 14 Denis Shapovalov of Canada. It will not be the first time the two have met, with Shapovalov having beat Kwon in the second round of the U.S. Open in 2020.
Kwon isn't the only Korean currently competing in the Australian Open. Jang Su-jeong is set to make her Grand Slam debut after earning her spot in the women's tournament by winning all three of her qualifying matches. Jang will play her first game of the tournament proper against Danka Kovinic of Montenegro on Tuesday afternoon.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]