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Hyeon Chung Reveals Keys To Breakout @ BNP Paribas Open

Hyeon Chung of South Korea in action against Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 14 March 2018. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO

 

 

INDIAN WELLS—Hyeon Chung has hit a Masters peak in the desert.

 

The 21-year-old Chung won 11 of the first 12 games crushing Pablo Cuevas, 6-1, 6-3, advancing to his first career Masters 1000 at the BNP Paribas Open.

 

Along the way, Chung has dismantled two experienced seeds—12th-seeded Tomas Berdych and the 30th-seeded Cuevas— playing with poise, patience and total command save for a two-game lapse closing today’s victory.

 

Chung charged into his fifth quarterfinal in six tournaments this year. He sports a 15-5 record—a quantum leap over last season when Chung did not post his 15th win of the season until August at the Rogers Cup.

 

Hiring coach Neville Godwin, who coached Kevin Anderson to the US Open final last summer, has brought new perspective for Chung.

 

The bespectacled South Korean, who’s riding a career-high rank of No. 26, said the influence of his new team, sharpening his serve and having fun on court are the primary reasons for his surge this season.

 

“I’m just start new team this year with Godwin Neville, and he made me trying to enjoy on the court,” Chung said. “And we start last preseason we working serve a little bit.

 

“We just trying to little bit serve a little bit and the physicality and everything, the mentally, and just trying to enjoy on the court all the time.”

 

The Korean’s compact two-handed backhand, baseline precision, speed and leg strength that prompted ESPN analyst Brad Gilbert to nickname him “Quadzilla” were all on display when he knocked off No. 4-seeded Alexander Zverev and six-time champion Novak Djokovic to reach the Australian Open semifinals.

 

Chung bowed to Roger Federer and severe blisters bursting the bottom of his feet.

 

If Federer defeats Jeremy Chardy today, he’ll face Chung in an Indian Wells rematch of the Melbourne semifinals.

 

Should that rematch come off, Chung already has his mission statement in mind: have fun.

 

“(Federer is) playing really good this year so far, as well, so I don’t know,” Chung said. “Just playing really fast and good serve, good baseline. He play everything good, so I’m just trying to… I don’t know. I’m just trying to enjoy on the court.”

 

Editors note: Tennis coach Neville Godwin won the 2017 ATP Coaches Award. It’s a great honor based on the fact that he was voted in by his fellow coaches and peers. He was a fine player with a ️nice career before he started coaching. He is a brilliant tactician. This next match should be really interesting.

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