Chung Stays Perfect
Hyeon Chung was one of the last players to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. But heading into the semi-final stage, the South Korean will be one of the clear favourites to win the inaugural tournament this weekend.
The sixth seed finished off a perfect 3-0 round-robin stage on Thursday, battling past Italian wild card Gianluigi Quinzi 1-4, 4-1, 4-2, 3-4(6), 4-3(3) to carry three days' worth of momentum into the final stretch, when Chung will try to win his first ATP World Tour title.
“I'm just really looking forward to tomorrow,” Chung said.
The 21-year-old reached the semi-finals at the BMW Open by FWU in Munich earlier this year (l. to Pella). Chung, the Group A champion, is off to the best start of any of his #NextGenATP peers. Croatia's Borna Coric, the only other undefeated finalist, will put his 2-0 round-robin record on the line Thursday evening when he faces second seed Karen Khachanov of Russia.
Quinzi, though, didn't make it easy for Chung. The Italian had won both of their prior junior meetings, on clay in Milan in 2012 and in the 2013 Wimbledon boys' singles final. And Quinzi started full of confidence as the South Korean struggled to get going. Chung double faulted twice in his first service game and was broken to 30.
But the sixth seed loosened up after the first set and was overpowering the wild card. It looked as if Chung he would finish it in four.
Quinzi, however, wasn't yet done in Milan. With the home crowd behind him, he fought back, saving a match point at 2-3, 40/40 in the fourth set to force a decider. The Italian saved another match point at 2-3, 40/40 in the fifth set before Chung advanced.
“It was a great hounor to play Gianluigi again,” Chung said.
Quinzi, who received a wild card for winning the Italian 21-and-under qualifying tournament last weekend, finishes 0-3 in Milan. But the World No. 305, having played against the best 21-and-under players in the world, will know what needs to be done if he wants to reach the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings and check off his other goals in the coming years.