Novak Djokovic was upset in straight sets by Hyeon Chung in a hard-hitting battle at the Australian Open on Monday.
The six-time Australian Open champion fell 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) in the fourth round to the 21-year-old Chung, who became the first South Korean to ever make a grand slam quarterfinal.
It’s a memorable sporting achievement for South Korea weeks before the nation will be in the spotlight hosting the winter Olympics.
Dreams come true
Nicknamed the “Professor” because he is one of the few tennis players to wear glasses on court, Chung out-slugged Djokovic in a three-hour battle at Rod Laver Arena.
With Chung’s athleticism and ability to hit big shots on defense, Djokovic could have been forgiven for thinking he was playing a younger version of himself.
Indeed many of the rallies were breathtaking and had the crowd off their feet.
“I’m just trying to copy Novak because he is my idol,” Chung told the crowd afterward. “Dreams (came) true tonight.”
The world No. 58 thus proved his win over fourth-seed Alexander Zverev was no fluke and he’ll be favored to beat another surprise quarterfinalist, Tennys Sandgren, in the next round. Sandgren upset fifth-seed Dominic Thiem 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (7-9) 6-3.
When the dust settles Djokovic probably won’t be too disappointed, despite going 5-for-19 on break points.
This was his first competitive tournament since Wimbledon last July because of an elbow injury. The Serbian’s trainer did massage the 12-time grand slam winner’s elbow during the encounter though Djokovic didn’t appear to be overly impeded.
Men’s defending champion Roger Federer — who could have faced Djokovic in the semis — women’s No. 1 Simona Halep and the surging Angelique Kerber all advanced, too.
Federer and Halep cruised over Marton Fucsovics and Naomi Osaka while Kerber needed three sets to see off the unorthodox game of Hsieh Su-wei 4-6 7-5 6-2.