MELBOURNE - Six-times champion Novak Djokovic bowed out of the Australian Open in the fourth round as relentless South Korean Chung Hyeon ground him down to claim a stunning 7-6(4) 7-5 7-6(3) victory on Monday.
Welcome to the big time Hyeon #Chung! --— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 22, 2018
Our six-time champion Novak #Djokovic bows out of the #AusOpen d by the world No.58 in straight sets 7-6(4) 7-5 7-6(3) after 3hrs 21mins. pic.twitter.com/lETvt3JPJC
The 21-year-old Chung, ranked 58th in the world, proved an immovable object, absorbing everything the former world number one could throw at him and returning it with interest.
Djokovic, grimacing occasionally and flexing his elbow, dropped the opening four games and although he clawed back the deficit Chung took the opening set on the tiebreak.
Chung moved 4-1 ahead in the second set but again Djokovic recovered, only to falter when serving at 5-6, netting a forehand on set point after Chung had shown incredible defensive skills to stay alive in the rally.
Again Djokovic battled back from a break down in the third set to force a tiebreak but Chung refused to let the 30-year-old Serb off the hook.
Chung hooked a mind-boggling forehand winner past Djokovic to take a 5-3 lead in the tiebreak and when Djokovic netted a return it brought up three match points.
One was enough as Djokovic hit into the tramlines.
Chung will face unseeded American Tennys Sandgren for a place in the semi-finals. (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)