Australian Open 2018: Hyeon Chung is Korea’s first athlete to reach a grand slam semi-final

Hyeon Chung Australian Open
Melbourne, Australia - 12/01/18: Hyeon Chung of South Korea at an Exhibition and practice match at Kooyong Tennis Club. Photo: STRINGER Image, Bigstock

Hyeon Chung has become the world’s first Korean athlete to make it to a tennis grand slam semi-final. This marks his best run at any grand slam, the Australian Open is set to get lit up by the young star.

Chung beat the unseeded American Tennys Sandgren in straight sets with only one tiebreaker on Wednesday night. The number 58 seed has also become the lowest-seeded player to make it into the semi-finals.

His second achievement knocks former title holder Marat Safin out of the record books for his appearance in the top four in the 2004 Australian Open.

The 21-year-old’s next opponent is none other than Switzerland’s number two seed, Roger Federer. Chung shows no signs of slowing down mentally or physically on his war path to obtain the grand slam title. He has already beaten the 4th seed Alexander Zverev and walked over Novak Djokovic in straight sets.

Chung clenched his way into the top four in two hour and 28 minutes at Rod Laver Arena. To witness history being created, Rod Laver himself made an appearance to watch Korea’s champion play.

If his achievements weren’t enough already, Chung was victorious at the 2017 Next-Gen Finals that were held in Milan. Chung has also taken the title for being the world’s youngest semi-finalist being 21 years and 254 days old. He takes the title off Marin Cilic and his performance at the 2010 Australian Open.

While Chung makes his way closer to the title, Sandgren can comfort his efforts with a check for $440,000. Sandgren had failed to win a match in the majors 13 times before making an appearance in a grand slam. His latest run of success has given him a ranking in the world’s top 60 players.

America’s 26-year-old Sandgren fought valiantly, bouncing back from 5 match points to keep the game alive. After a tiresome 9 point game that had a 31 point rally and one of the most intense plays at the net, Chung finally came out on top.

In a post-game interview Chung said that when he was 40-love up in the last game his mind jumped to what he was to do at the ceremony. The lapse in mentality gave Sandgren a way back into the match.

After the score had evened the game to deuce point, Chung’s mentality switched back. No longer thinking about the ceremony but rather the big game in front of him he was able to make history.

Chung says that all of Korea is behind and watching him for his historical moment that is to commence at 7.30pm AEDT on Friday night against Roger Federer.