Kim Won-min (Andong SC) has reached the boys’ singles final of the Australian Open 2024 U14 tournament. He won four matches without dropping a set from qualifying to the semifinals. On Saturday, Kim will take on a Japanese player for his first title of the season.
After securing two wins in the group stage on Thursday, Wonmin Kim advanced to the semifinals as the No. 1 seed in Group A with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Hong Shiok Tarita (Thailand) in the final match of the morning on Friday.
In the semifinals, which immediately followed at 1 p.m., Kim defeated Alex Hui (Hong Kong) 6-4 6-3.
In both sets, Kim got off to a shaky start, dropping the first game on his own serve, but was able to break back by forcing Hui into errors with his relentless and precise defense. He controlled the tempo during the rallies, breaking Hui’s center on numerous occasions. Kim’s successful lob shot at the end of the first set drew cheers from the large crowd of locals watching the match.
Wonmin Kim was very happy to see his victory sealed, even mimicking Ben Shelton’s (USA) hang-up ceremony.
Kim will play Takahiro Kawaguchi (JPN) in the final on Saturday. Kawaguchi has also been on a terrific run at this tournament, winning both his Group B qualifier and semifinal in straight sets. Kawaguchi is a 13-year-old who has been competing on the ITF Junior World Tour since last year, and according to ITF records, he has only reached the second round of two lower-level junior events in his home country. He is ranked 2425 in the ITF Junior Rankings.
Kim Won-min is ranked 1710 in the ITF junior rankings. Unlike Kawaguchi, who has only played in domestic tournaments, Kim Won-min has gained enough experience to compete overseas.
The two players are tied with four wins and a +8 set margin in the tournament, while Kim is +31 and Kawaguchi is +25 in game winning percentage.
The Australian Open U14 is an event-style invitational that features 16 players, eight men and eight women, from Asia and the Pacific (Oceania). The tournament features the best players in the Asia-Pacific region under the age of 14. Korean players Kim Won-min is competing in the men’s singles and Hong Ye-ri (Yangjin-cho, Seoul) is competing in the women’s singles, and they will be guided by coach Seo Yong-beom, who is no stranger to Australia.