Earlier today, Hyeon Chung faced off against his idol Novak Djokovic, to the shock of many he defeated the Serbian in straight sets. The Korean youngster now moves into the quarterfinals and will be facing fellow giant-killer Tennys Sandgren. After the 7-6, 7-5, 7-6 victory, here are the biggest takeaways from the Djokovic-Chung match.
What we learned from the Djokovic-Chung match
1. He is officially the first Korean to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal
Only two other Koreans have managed to reach the round of 16 of any major. In 2000 and 2007, Hyung-Taik Lee achieved the feat in the men’s draw at the US Open. On the women’s front, Duk-Hee Lee reached the top 16 at the 1981 US Open. But that was wherer they both remained. Chung is the first player from his country to make it all the way to the final eight.
2. He held his ground against one of the greatest returners of all time.
The Korean managed to save 14 of the 19 break points he faced. Bearing in mind that Djokovic is one of the best returners, the feat was astonishing. He converted six of the 10 break points he had on the Serb’s serve. The 21-year old also had a rock solid ground game. He produced 39 winners against one of the fastest players in the game, proving that he could go toe to toe with anyone.
3. He faced off and beat his childhood idol.
Chung said that he looked up to Novak Djokovic because of his fantastic game and mental strength. The two squared off once before, incidentally at the Australian Open in 2015. However, he lost that meeting, a 6-3 6-2 6-4 defeat in the first round.
4. He handed Djokovic his first straight-set loss at the Australian Open in 11 years.
The last time Djokovic lost in straight sets in Melbourne was in the 4th round in 2007 against Roger Federer. The Swiss player handed him a 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 defeat. Since then, the Serb had won at least one set (and usually three) in 62 matches.
5. He now has a chance of reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal.
The No. 58-ranked Chung was set to face No.5 seed Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals. However, No. 97-ranked Tennys Sandgren managed to cause an upset of his own. The American kept his challenge alive on Monday night with a marathon 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (7), 6-3 fourth-round victory over Thiem.