Holger Rune vs. Soonwoo Kwon First Round Australian Open Odds & Betting Pick (Jan. 16)
Credit: Julian Finney, Getty. Holger Rune practices at the ATP Next Gen Finals.
Holger Rune vs. Soonwoo Kwon
|Time||7 p.m. ET (subject to change)|
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Holger Rune is into his second Grand Slam draw, but because of his hard work a season ago, he no longer needed to go through qualifying to get there. A strong close to the season, which included a win on the ATP Challenger Tour, set up the 18-year-old for a fast start, but he’s been slow out of the gate.
Soonwoo Kwon has also been up-and-down with two wins and two losses this season, and he too ended the year on a high note with his first ever ATP title in Nur-Sultan. Both men are young and hungry, but Kwon has a significant edge in the experience department. Will that be enough to carry him through this match?
Young Holger Rune Ascending
Rune’s 2021 season was known as the year he went from Instagram star to known commodity. No longer did fans need to head to social media to see footage of the teenager smashing forehands in empty gyms because he was making an impact in real matches.
The teenager won five Challenger titles when it was all said and done, compiling a 73-29 record across all levels. He did not manage to win more than six ATP matches, but he did take a set off of Novak Djokovic at the US Open, and, generally speaking, this was a success considering a year ago he was playing in ITF tournaments.
One of the very first matches Rune played on tour was against Kwon on clay in Marbella, where the Korean took him down in three sets. While the result seems to be a positive considering the youngster has grown since then, it’s important to add context. Clay is Rune’s best surface (80-34 record) while it’s one Kwon rarely plays (9-13 in nine pro seasons).
While the Denmark product features pop on his forehand, it seems he does like the slow nature of the dirt. He’s struggled on outdoor hardcourts with a 14-14 record in his short time on the pro circuit, though he won 21 matches in 28 tries on indoor hard last season. Rune’s greatest moment also came on the outdoor hardcourts at the US Open when he took the second set off of Novak Djokovic. There is probably a bright future ahead on every surface for Rune with this level of talent.
Consistent and Relentless Soonwoo Kwon
It’s hard to get as excited about Kwon when compared to a fun, colorful teenage tennis player. What the Korean lacks in flair he makes up for in relentlessness. He transformed his backhand wing into a real weapon last year and wore down some more erratic competition with consistency.
Kwon had a pretty great season a year ago all things considered. Though he did have a 58.7% winning percentage, he took out some talented players like Kevin Anderson, Marton Fuscovics and Ilya Ivashka, who at the time of their meeting was one of the hottest players on tour. Four of the five players he needed to defeat to win in Nur-Sultan are included in the Australian Open draw as well, and speaking of Grand Slams, he managed to win three matches across the four last season.
Kwon has the upper hand here in experience, having played so many professional seasons at the ripe age of 24 and so many matches on outdoor hardcourts. This surface is all he knows, and 71.2% of all his career wins have come on outdoor hard.
Rune vs. Kwon Betting Analysis
It’s always hard handicapping this early in the season because there’s little form to go off of. What we do know is Kwon has at least looked decent in two wins over good tour-level competition while Rune’s two wins came over the likes of Juan Pablo Varillas and Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Rune’s two losses were no-contests to Corentin Moutet, and while he’s playing well, you could argue Kwon’s losses to Arthur Rinderknech and Mikael Ymer make him look like he’s had the harder road.
Overall, I don’t love the level of consistency Rune has brought to the table. He’s still too erratic off the ground to get excited about. Kwon did well to deal with the power and raw talent of Lloyd Harris in his impressive three-set win earlier in the week, and that should have him ready for this one.
I think this is a fantastic deal on a player who has more best-of-five experience and has had the better of the two seasons. Rune’s future is bright, but this one will be a tough ask.
Pick: Kwon -145 (DraftKings)