Two days ago, Hyeon Chung scored the biggest win of his career, beating world No. 4 Alexander Zverev in the third round of the Australian Open. The 21-year-old, 58th-ranked South Korean followed up that upset with another giant one on Monday night, stunning 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, 7-6 (4), 7-5, 7-6 (3).
Here are five takeaways from Chung’s primetime win over the six-time Australian Open champion:
1. He’s now the first Korean, male or female, to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal. Only two other Koreans had reached the round of 16 of any major: Hyung-Taik Lee doing it on the men’s side at the US Open in 2000 and 2007, and Duk-Hee Lee doing it on the women’s side at the US Open in 1981.
But they were both stopped there, and Chung is the first from his country to make a final eight.
2. He held his ground against one of the greatest returners of all time. Chung saved 14 of the 19 break points he faced against the always-lethal Djokovic return. Meanwhile, he converted six of the 10 break points he had on the Serb’s serve. His ground game was also incredibly solid. Playing one of the fastest players in the game, his groundstrokes produced 39 winners to 35 unforced errors.
3. He beat his childhood idol. Chung's official ATPWorldTour.com bio says: “Growing up, looked up to Novak Djokovic because of his fantastic game and mental strength.” He had lost their only previous career meeting, a 6-3 6-2 6-4 defeat in the first round of the Australian Open two years ago.
4. He dealt Djokovic his first straight-set loss at the Australian Open in 11 years. The last time Djokovic lost in straight sets in Melbourne was a 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 defeat to Roger Federer in the fourth round in 2007. The Serb had won at least one set (and usually three) in 62 matches there since.
5. He now has an amazing opportunity to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal. The No. 58-ranked Chung could have played No.5 seed Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals, but instead he’ll square off against No. 97-ranked American Tennys Sandgren, who kept his breakthrough fortnight alive on Monday night with a marathon 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (7), 6-3 fourth-round victory over Thiem.
The two have played each other just once, just a few weeks ago in the first round of the ATP World Tour 250 event in Auckland, with Chung battling to a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win in two hours and 12 minutes. This time, there's a lot more on the line.
Read Joel Drucker and Nina Pantic on TENNIS.com as they report from the Australian Open, and watch them each day on The Daily Mix:
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