SEOUL, March 16 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean tennis player Chung Hyeon has suffered a hard-fought loss to world No. 1 Roger Federer in their latest meeting.
Federer defeated the 26th-ranked Chung in straight sets 7-5, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Indian Wells, California, on Thursday (local time).
Chung gave Federer all he could handle in the opening set before running out of steam in the second set.
Federer has only lost three sets this year and has matched his previous best start to a season, which came in 2006, when he opened the year 16-0.
This was the first showdown between the two since the semifinals at the Australian Open in January, when Chung was forced to retire in the second set because of blisters on his foot. Federer went on to win the championship for his 20th career Grand Slam singles title.
In this meeting, Federer needed just eight minutes to go up 3-0 in the opening set. He was down 40-0 in the second game before rallying to break Chung.
But just when a rout appeared to be in the offing, the South Korean started battling back, winning the next three games to pull to a 3-3 tie.
The two traded games and were locked at 5-5, before Federer pulled away to take the set 7-5.
Federer built another 3-0 lead in the second set and didn’t let Chung creep back into the match this time, keeping the South Korean on the run with an array of outstanding shots.
Despite the loss, Chung is still having a fine season. He has reached at least the quarterfinals in five consecutive tournaments, dating back to the ASB Classic in New Zealand in January.
Chung began the year at No. 58 in the world rankings but has jumped 32 spots since, thanks in large part to his run to the semifinals at the Australian Open in January. He’s expected to climb even higher after this week. No South Korean tennis player, male or female, has ranked higher than the 21-year-old.