|Korean tennis player Kwon Soon-woo speaks during a press conference ahead of the ATP Korea Open in Seoul, Monday. Yonhap|
Korean player Kwon Soon-woo advanced to the second round of the lone ATP Tour event held on home soil on Tuesday, beating countryman Chung Yun-seong in three sets.
Kwon, the highest-ranked ATP player from South Korea at No. 121, defeated the 269th-ranked Chung 7-5 (7-6), 6-7 (3-7), 6-1 at Olympic Park Tennis Center in Seoul.
Chung made his ATP tournament appearance in this match after winning a qualifying match on Sunday. Despite the large discrepancy in their rankings, Chung had defeated Kwon twice in their three previous non-ATP meetings prior to Tuesday.
And Chung gave Kwon all he could handle for the first two sets before running out of steam in the decider.
In the next round on Thursday, Kwon will face Jenson Brooksby of the United States. Kwon, who earned his maiden ATP Tour win last September, has yet to get past the second round this season.
Neither player gave an inch in the opening set, trading games until it got to a tiebreak. Kwon led 4-2 before Chung picked up the next two points, but Kwon hung on for a 7-5 win and the set.
Chung returned the favor in the second set by winning it in a tiebreak. Kwon had built a 5-3 and served for the match, but Chung battled back to break Kwon and eventually for the tiebreak.
Kwon blew a 2-0 lead in the tiebreak to allow Chung to tie the match.
But Kwon snatched the control of the match in the third set, quickly building a 3-0 lead before closing out his rival 6-1.
Kwon is the only South Korean player left in the singles, following earlier elimination of Nam Ji-sung and Hong Seong-chan.
Kwon is also scheduled to play in the doubles with former Australian Open semifinalist Chung Hyeon. (Yonhap)