The second Australian Open men’s semi features the G.O.A.T. versus the Next Best Thing, Swiss legend Roger Federer up against Korean sensation Hyeon Chung.
History: First Meeting.
Final Thoughts: It’s the mature legend up against the youthful breakout star in the second semi at the 2018 Australian Open, as defending champion and world No.2 Roger Federer – almost universally regarded as the greatest of all time – square off against 21-year-old Hyeon Chung, who this week became the first Korean to make it past the fourth round of a grand slam.
The world No.58 has already carved out a staggering run in Melbourne, beating Mischa Zverev and Daniil Medvedev without dropping a set, outlasting Alexander Zverev in a five-setter, upsetting Novak Djokovic in a magical straight-sets effort, and accounting for fellow giant-killer Tennys Sandgren in three.
Federer, meanwhile, has not dropped a set at the tournament so far, including in a third-round clash with the wily Richard Gasquet and his quarter-final obliteration of previously on-fire 19th seed Tomas Berdych.
The 36-year-old ‘Fed-Express’ has 19 major titles to his name and is the reigning Australian Open (claiming his fifth last year) and Wimbledon champ. Hyeon Chung has only ever made it to one final on the ATP circuit, winning the Next Generation ATP Finals in Italy in November.
Hyeon is the lowest-ranked Australian Open semi-finalist since Marat Safin in 2004 and the youngest since Marin Cilic in 2010. But while it’s tempting to make a case for the burgeoning tyro’s fairytale continuing, Federer in his current form is a massive step up in quality.
The Swiss maestro appears as hungry as ever, while doubts that existed this time last year over whether he was still in that top bracket of the world’s best are long gone. Federer will look to unsettle his inexperienced opponent with a fast start and should wrap it up in three.