Defending champion Rodger Federer (SUI) booked a place in the Final, but not in the way he would have hoped. The 5 time Australian Open Champion faced the 2017 NextGen Finals Champion Hyeon Chung (KOR), who had made quite an impact on the tournament with his character as well as his tennis. With upsets against Zverev and Djokovic, the Korean was already being talked about as the next Novak Djokovic, his childhood idol. The similarities between the games of Djokovic and Chung are there for all to see, unfortunately this may have been the young man’s undoing. The defensive style of tennis requires a lot of mileage on court, and even the straight sets victories were tough on the feet.
Federer was in no mood to humour an upset and set to work pushing Chung around the court, hitting angles, dropping the ball short, and generally making the NextGen Champion scramble. With Chung unable to find any rhythm against the Swiss magician, the first set went away from him 6-1. As the second set got under way, the Korean slowed down and it became obvious there was a problem, a trainer was called and a terrible blister was revealed. The trainer attempted to strap the foot and though Chung returned to play, a couple of games later it was understandably all too much and he approached the umpire. A tough break for the Korean, and not the way Federer would have wanted to advance to the Final, but he’ll take it.
Federer’s opponent in the final will have some sympathy with Chung, as at their last meeting in the Wimbledon Final, Cilic was felled by the same thing. 6th seed Marin Cilic (CRO) will be hoping to defy the head to head stats in the final. The Croat has only beaten Federer once in 9 meetings, and that was on his US Open winning run in 2014, beating the Swiss in the Semi-Finals.