Novak Djokovic Shocked by Hyeon Chung in 4th Round of 2018 Australian Open

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2018

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts during their men's singles fourth round match against South Korea's Hyeon Chung on day eight of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 22, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --        (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
SAEED KHAN/Getty Images

The impressive Hyeon Chung dumped Novak Djokovic out of the Australian Open on Monday in Round 4, dispatching him 7-6 (4), 7-5, 7-6 (3).

Djokovic, a six-time champion at this event, appeared to be struggling with injury issues throughout the contest, and he was nowhere near his best as a result. His opponent, who knocked out fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the previous round, capitalised to full effect, winning in comfortable fashion.

The win for Chung sets up an unlikely quarter-final showdown with Tennys Sandgren, who produced a shock of his own on Monday to eliminate fifth seed Dominic Thiem.

Chung played a sensational match to beat Djokovic.
Chung played a sensational match to beat Djokovic.SAEED KHAN/Getty Images

Tennis journalist Simon Cambers was full of praise for the 21-year-old after the biggest win of his career:

The 2018 Australian Open is the first Grand Slam that Djokovic has featured in since Wimbledon last summer. While there have been some signs of rustiness, overall the Serb has been in fine form.

This match got off to the worst possible start for him, though. Chung was lightning fast out of the blocks and broke Djokovic in the first game of the match; he then repeated the trick in the third and quickly found himself 4-0 up.

The Serb found a groove and worked his way back into contention, eventually levelling at 5-5 and then forcing a tiebreak. But Chung was the superior player in the breaker and grabbed a deserved lead.

Annabel Croft praised the manner in which Djokovic recovered, although she noted the long-running elbow issue he suffers with appeared to be bothering him:

In the second, the South Korean was again the strongest, as he raced into a 4-1 lead with some spellbinding tennis.

At this point, Djokovic's body appeared to be breaking down. At the start of the first set, he was treated for blisters on his foot, while his trainer also worked on his elbow.

There were times when the 12-time Grand Slam champion appeared to be in trouble:

Yet he battled on and once again was able to restore parity at 4-4. His effort was futile, though, as the dynamic Chung came on strong at the end of the stanza as he capitalised on some slack serving from Djokovic in the 12th game and was able to break for a two-set lead.

Djokovic was not looking comfortable on court.
Djokovic was not looking comfortable on court.SAEED KHAN/Getty Images

A win felt a long way off for an uncomfortable Djokovic. Meanwhile, former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash praised Chung for the manner in which he was taking the game to his illustrious opponent:

Once again, the South Korean was the sharper man early in the third set, as he broke to go 3-1 up and three games from the quarter-finals.

Midway through the third, Djokovic appeared to be a little more mobile out on court, and he was able to respond quickly with a break of his own.

As we can see here courtesy of Eurosport UK, he then missed a brilliant chance to go 5-3 in front:

From that point, both men exchanged some heavy rallies, with neither looking to give an inch on serve. Unsurprisingly, another tiebreak was needed to separate them.

Chung was able to march into a 3-0 lead in it, before Djokovic dug in restore parity at 3-3. The South Korean then played some of his best tennis of the match, as a stunning passing shot to move 5-3 ahead appeared to break his opponent's will.

From there, the youngster was able to serve out the match with an authority that belies his inexperience. Up against another Grand Slam quarter-final debutant next, Chung will fancy his chances of keeping this remarkable run going.

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