By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Roger Federer might be moving ever closer to his 20th Grand Slam title – but the Next Gen are coming, with Hyeon Chung leading the charge.




Roger Federer [2] v Hyeon Chung | H2H; First meeting

The last final spot will be decided as defending champion Roger Federer takes on Next Gen Finals champion Hyeon ChungThis is a fascinating match up. Federer has hardly been troubled in his path to the semi-final – almost losing a set to Tomas Berdych but riling himself up to escape the prospect of dropping his first set.

His path to Slam No. 20 had a couple of boosts with Chung taking out Alexander Zverev, who got the better of him on the way to his first Masters, and many thought he would have been the heir apparent to the old guard, but his woeful record at Slams continued.

He also lost Novak Djokovic at the hands of Chung. It was clear that in his first tournament back for 6 months, the elbow still was adjusting to the level of play at a Slam but Chung matched Djokovic grinding blow for grinding blow, and dealt the Serbian the same hand he has done to many opponents on his own successful Slam runs.

Hyeon Chung in the quarter-final of the Australian Open, 2018

Hyeon Chung in the quarter-final of the Australian Open, 2018 | (PAUL CROCK/AFP/ Getty Images)

The question now is whether or not Chung can actually come good on the promise he has shown, and can he dig deep to spring what would be the ultimate shock in the tournament. He has matured a lot in the last few months, and the momentum he had at the end of the year but there are a few things we ought to consider.

In Milan they played best of five set first to four game format, and so for him to come through a number of long sets has been an encouraging sight. His warm-up events were steady, but not outstanding. He reached the quarter-finals in Auckland and was out-ground by David Ferrer.

His toughest match was against Zverev, taken to five sets, and sailing on buy the hapless Zverev to love in the final set. If he can go out there, enjoy it and hit free, then he certainly could take a set off Federer, if not go the distance.

Federer admitted he was not as aware of Chung’s capabilities but recognised that to beat Djokovic, and then back it up and not have the often seen come-down from a big win showed impressive qualities.

“I’m very excited to play Chung. I thought he played an incredible match against Novak. I mean, to beat him here is one of the tough things to do in our sport, I believe. I know
that Novak maybe wasn’t at 110%, but he was all right. He was giving it a fight till the very end. To close it out, that was mighty impressive.

“To bounce back from a Novak match and just somehow get it done today, this afternoon, that’s tough. That shows that he’s had good composure, a great mindset. Also physically he must have recovered because Novak is going to give you a bit of a workout.

“I think it’s an interesting match for me. I’ll definitely have to look into how I need to play against him because he has some great qualities, especially defensively, like Novak has.

“One thing I know is I’m going to be playing aggressive. I don’t know exactly how he returns and how he serves exactly. Those are two major aspects to the game. Those start the points. I have to figure that part out a little bit.”

Prediction: Federer in four sets




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