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Who’s Kevin Kim?

Posted January. 19, 2005 23:05,   


Korean-American Kevin Kim (age 27) created the sensation of entering the third round in a grand slam tennis match for the first time.

Under the heat averaging 35 degree Celsius at the Australian Open’s second round of the men’s singles held in Melbourne, Australia on January 19, Kevin Kim, ranked 86, displayed his steady serve and stroke skills in defeating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spain) with a score of 3-0 (6-2, 6-4, 6-2), ranked 106th.

Defeating Lee Hyung-taek (Samsung Securities) in the first round, Kim played against Garcia-Lopez, who defeated Carlos Moya (Spain), ranked fifth, and won the game with a high serve success rate of 71 percent and 22 faults, 20 less than his opponent. He also recorded 201kmph in serve speed and five aces.

In the next round, Kevin Kim will be facing Thomas Johansson (Sweden), seeded 30.

Born under Korean parents who immigrated to the United States in the 1960’s, Kevin Kim first learned tennis at the age of five and has steadily gained fame ever since.

After matriculating into UCLA in 1996 and turning pro the next year, Kim did not particularly shine in his performance until last year, when he participated in 28 competitions including the Samsung Securities Open in Korea, and won thrice in the challenger competition, a cut below the tour competition. In the September China Open, Kim drew attention by defeating Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spain), ranked one.

Thanks to his recent performance, Kim’s rank jumped from the 150-range to within the 100-range mark, and will be automatically qualified for a major match for the first time. Until last year, Kim faced Grand Slam competition four times by wild card draws or through preliminaries, including three games at the US Open and one at the French Open, but was eliminated in the first round for all games. This is the first time Kim has participated in the Australian Open. Kim’s physical profile of 180cm, 75kg is ideal for his ground strokes.

Observing Kevin Kim in the U.S., coach Ju Won-heung of Samsung Securities stated, “His steady game was impressive, and I could see he has gained confidence and is aiming for success.” Though his physical capabilities or serve speed are not exceptional, Kim is relying on lessening his errors and winning by skill rather than power.

At the women’s singles, Serena Williams (US), flashing her radical wardrobe consisting of neon suits and tennis boots, will be entering the third round along with Maria Sharapova (Russia).

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com