Chung stuns Djokovic, Kerber halts Hsieh
In the other inter-continental clash, Germany’s Angelique Kerber found a way to survive an agonizing outing by outlasting Taipei’s Su-wien Hsieh 4/6; 5/7; 6/2.
In the first set, Djokovic committed two of his nine double faults and lost his first two service games. With Chung up 4-0, Djokovic battled back and was up 6-5 but Chung took his service in the twelfth game and proceeded to clinch the tie breaker 9 points to 7 over 68 minutes.
In the second set, Djokovic took a medical time out to receive treatment on his elbow that had been wrapped in a shoulder- to- wrist sleeve since the first round. He grimaced whenever he had to hit a ball when stretched to the right, a location from where he delivered winners when in prime health. Hyeon took the second set 7- 5.
An early break gave Chung a 3-1 lead in the third set but he could not extend the margin as Djokovic forced him to deuce. A backhand winner annulled the first break threat while a forehand winner gave Djokovic the advantage and game on a missed forehand by Chung. The six-time Australian Open titlist held his serve to level 3 games apiece.
Chung was behind in the seventh game in which a backhand error put him in danger of losing his serve but he held to lead 4-3. Djokovic faced break point in the eighth game but survived. Another long-drawn game ended with Chung clinching to lead 5-4.
At 30-all in the eleventh game, there was a long rally as both players knew the importance of the point. Chung held on to win the game. Needing to win his serve to stay in the match, Djokovic conceded but one point before leveling at 6 games each.
In the tie break, Chung took his opening service and took Djokovic’s next two service points for a mini-break and 3-0 in points. Djokovic also took the next three points to level before the changeover. Once they were on the other sides, it was an all-Chung run as he took four consecutive points to win the tie break game, set and match.
Hyeon surpassed Novak in all departments. He delivered 47 outright winners to 36 by Novak. Djokovic committed 9 double-faults to Chung’s 2 and won only 5 out of 19 break opportunities while Chung won 6 of the 10. That made the difference in the outcome; with a total of 128 points for Djokovic and 138 for Chung.
The 2016 champion, Angelique Kerber faced a herculean task in her match with Su-wien Hsieh. Facing the quirky style of play, Kerber could not get into any familiar rhythm. She was pushed from one corner to another by a player who placed ball in her opponent’s side with the precision of a chess master. Combining deep shots to corners and well-disguised drop shots, she took the first from a bewildered Kerber.
In the second set, the southpaw from Germany was two games away from defeat when she rallied to win 7-5, thanks to a long run to pick a drop shot that she flicked past her opponent. Kerber seized the shift of momentum to race through to a 6-2 victory in the third set and a place in the quarter-finals.
The man of the hour, Hyeon Chung will face American Tennys Sandgren who defeated the fifth seeded Dominic Thiem in a grueling contest that ended 6/2; 4/6; 7/6(4); 6/7(9); 6/3.
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