James Duckworth heads into first TBEN final | ATP circuit

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Australia’s James Duckworth is in his first TBEN final after defeating eighth seed Ilya Ivashka 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Saturday at the Astana Open.

The world number 65, who has yet to lose a set to Nur-Sultan, saved two set points at 4-5 in the second set as he struck with great depth to pin Ivashka behind the baseline to advance after two hours and two minutes. .

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“I’m really excited,” Duckworth said. “I’m delighted. It was a really tough game. Ilya has played good tennis this year. We’ve played twice this year, both times went to three sets.

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“I knew it would be really difficult, but I managed to win this second set in a tie-break. it was a very tight set that could have gone both ways. I think I played the big points well.

Duckworth has now won his last nine matches, having triumphed in Istanbul in an ATP Challenger Tour event last week. The 29-year-old was in his first tour-level semi-final since qualifying for the last four in Pune in 2020.

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Ivashka, currently at the 52nd career peak of the FedEx ATP rankings, was aiming to win her second circuit title this week, after triumphing at Winston-Salem last month. The 27-year-old had won 11 of his last 12 appearances leading up to his game against Duckworth.

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The Australian will face Soonwoo Kwon in the championship game after second-seeded South Korea Alexander Bublik upset 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach his first circuit final.

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Kwon, who advanced to the semi-finals at Eastbourne in June, broke three times and shot seven aces to qualify after two hours and four minutes.

“It will be a tough game,” added Duckworth. “Kwon is more of a leader. I’m going to have to be ready. I’m just going to recover as best I can and go out tomorrow and see what happens.

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