Hyeon Chung has reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time, following up his upset victory over six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic in the fourth round with a 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-3 win Wednesday over Tennys Sandgren.
The No. 58-ranked Chung is the first Korean player to reach the last four of a major, and the lowest-ranked man to reach the Australian Open semifinals since Marat Safin in 2004.
After taking out No. 4 Alexander Zverev and 12-time major winner Djokovic in back-to-back rounds, Chung could next face defending champion Roger Federer for a spot in the final. Federer will play Tomas Berdych later Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
After missing a match point on Sandgren's serve and earning three more at 40-0 while serving for the match, the 21-year-old Chung got a bit tight. He missed four match points in the final game in all and had to fend off two break points as the pressure increased.
"In last game, I'm thinking to start what I had to do in the ceremony or something like that," he said, explaining how he got slightly ahead of himself. "After deuce, break point. Nothing to do with the ceremony. Just keep focused."
Until the last game, Chung had been simply too consistent for No. 97-ranked Sandgren, the 26-year-old American who had never won a match at a Grand Slam tournament or beaten a top 10 player until last week.
Sandgren's unexpected run — he beat 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka and No. 5 Dominic Thiem en route to the quarterfinals — was overshadowed by heavy scrutiny of his social media accounts and his follows and retweets of far-right activists. He deleted his Twitter history before the quarterfinals, but must have been distracted by the fallout.