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Duckworth to play Kwon for Astana Open title

2021 US Open - Day 1

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 30: James Duckworth of Australia returns against Pedro Martinez of Spain during their men’s singles first round match on Day One of the 2021 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

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NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan -- There will be a first-time title winner at the Astana Open after two players who had never reached a tour final won their semifinal matches.

James Duckworth of Australia will play South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo for the title in the capital of Kazakhstan.

Duckworth won 6-3, 7-6(4) against eighth-seeded Ilya Ivashka after breaking back from 3-1 down in the second set. It was the third consecutive straight-sets win over a seeded player for the 65th-ranked Duckworth and his ninth straight win overall after winning a Challenger tournament in Istanbul, Turkey, last week.

“I knew it was going to be really difficult but I managed to win that second set in a tie-break,” Duckworth said. “It was a very close set that could have gone either way. I think I played the big points well.”

Kwon reached his first final with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan.