Six-time champion Novak Djokovic was stunned in straight sets by Hyeon Chung not long after Tennys Sandgren upset No. 5 Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open. The season-opening major often throw up unexpected results, but the back-to-back upsets Monday resulted in a longshot of a quarterfinal: Chung, the first Korean to reach the last eight at a Grand Slam, vs. Sandgren, the American who had never won a Grand Slam match or beaten a top 10 player until last week.
The 58th-ranked Chung relentlessly attacked Djokovic — who is playing his first tournament since Wimbledon because of an injured right elbow — in the 7-6 (4), 7-5, 7-6 (3) fourth-round win.
"Yeah, today's victory for my country," said Chung, who ripped 47 winners, including a forehand on the slide and at full stretch that put him within two points of victory.
He credited the usually athletic Djokovic for the inspiration.
"When I'm young, I'm just trying to copy Novak because he's my idol," Chung said. "I can't believe this tonight. Dreams come true tonight."
Djokovic winced and grimaced throughout the match, particularly when stretching for backhands. He said he'd need to reassess the treatment of his elbow but didn't want his injuries to detract from Chung's win
"Amazing. Amazing performance," said Djokovic, who was seeded 14th after his ranking slid in 2017 while he was off the tour. "Impressive. Whenever he was in trouble, he came up with some unbelievable shots. Just from the back of the court, you know, he was like a wall."
Chung was coming off a win over No. 4-seeded Alexander Zverev.
Djokovic wasn't even sure until the last minute that he'd be able to play at Melbourne Park, and then had three tough matches against Donald Young, Gael Monfils and No. 21 Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
"Once you're in the middle of the match, you're dealing with many things," the 30-year old said. "I had similar situations in the past where I found myself struggling a little bit with some injuries during the match, then I managed to win.
"I felt the level of pain was not that high that I need to stop the match, even though it was obviously compromising my serve. That's life. I have to move on", the 12-time major winner signed off.
(With AP Inputs)