When filling in the draw, it’s very unlikely many will have predicted the first of the two men’s quarter-finals to be played on Day 10. Both Hyeon Chung and Tennys Sandgren are having dream runs this fortnight and more impressively – both have beaten multiple top players to make it this far. What was a first round match in Auckland earlier this month is now a slam quarter final. It was Chung who won on that occasion, edging the American in three sets.
Watch the Chung vs Sandgren Live Here.
When Chung beat Alexander Zverev in round three, it came as a shock although the idea of an opponent frustrating Zverev into submission didn’t really seem out of the ordinary. Playing Djokovic in round four – the master of what you would consider Chung’s game style – it seemed like it would be game over for the Korean even with Djokovic’s match sharpness still not back 100%. A 7-6 7-5 7-6 winner, it could have actually been even more one sided with Chung having led 3-0 and 3-1 in the respective sets that he won tiebreaks in. Holding his nerve after Djokovic continued to peg him back is extremely impressive.
Sandgren also beat two players that have been mainstays of the top 10, adding Dominic Thiem to his early Stanislas Wawrinka scalp. Thiem was heavily favoured to progress but didn’t show it as Sandgren pounced early to move into a 1 set lead. Up 2-1 and in a fourth set tiebreak, the tables looked to have turned as the American failed to convert match point on return and instead was stuck in a decider. From 2-2, he dropped just 1 point on serve. That meant his solitary break for 4-2 was enough and provided a relatively stress free ending to the biggest match of his career.
Sandgren felt the recent match with Chung gave him confidence even if he was on the losing side of the court on that day. “I feel like we had a tight contest. I feel like I had to raise my game to even compete with him on the court. I think that helped me a lot going into this week, seeing I could play a good level.” he said. Chung will go into this match with the pressure on him for once, if he delivers a likely semi final with Roger Federer beckons.
Prediction – Hyeon Chung in 4 sets