05 Mar 2014

Spotlight - Hyeon Chung - February 2014


By Nick Fishpool

Photo: Corinne DubreuilHyeon Chung (KOR)

February 2014

Our featured player for the month is Korean teenager Hyeon Chung who saw action in three consecutive tournaments held at the National Tennis Development Center in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

The 18-year-old from Seoul began this trio of hard court tournaments as the seventh seed in the singles event as the ITF Pro Circuit made its first stop of the year in Thailand.

In the opening three rounds, Chung defeated opposition from Japan including a quarterfinal defeat of the number one seed Hiroki Kondo in two tiebreaks.

Kondo would be the only seeded opposition he would face this week in singles play, he faced two in the doubles event with partner Ji Sung Nam including a semifinal loss to the eventual champions and second seeds one of which was Kondo, as he made it through to his first singles final outside of his home nation.

Chung won through to the title match in impressive style, conceding just one game in a 60 61 thrashing of Mao-Xin Gong from China and in the final he was up against his doubles partner Nam.

A straight sets 62 76(4) win secured a first title of 2014 and a career second for Chung.

In the second tournament of this series, an unseeded Chung was unable to replicate his earlier success and made a first round exit at the hands of British fourth seed Marcus Willis despite having taken a one set lead.

This did not, however, represent the end of his participation in the tournament this week as he once again partnered with Nam and as third seeds they negotiated their way through some tricky matches to reach the final.

Chung and Nam had previously contested three doubles finals together over the course of 2012-13 and were yet to win a title and they faced a tough challenge in this final where they were taking on the top seeds from Great Britain in Lewis Burton and Marcus Willis.

In a very closely contested match, the Koreans took the lead with a 64 opening set win before the Brits levelled the match in a tiebreak in the second set. The deciding set was played out as a match tiebreak and a 10-7 triumph saw the Korean pair finally end their search for a first doubles title.

For the final tournament of the month, Chung was again unseeded in singles and, as in the previous week, was named the third seed alongside Nam in the doubles.

Chung came into this tournament boasting a new career high ATP singles ranking of 477 and raced through the opening three rounds without loss of a set.

Three sets were then required to see off Ivo Klec from Slovakia, who was the number one seed, and this win set him up with a title showdown with his first round conqueror of the previous week, Willis.

Ahead of their singles final though, the two faced each other across the net in the doubles final. Playing in back-to-back doubles finals for the first time Chung and Nam were not able to match their performance from the previous final and a 63 75 win saw the British duo avenge their defeat in that final.

With the doubles title won, the next day Willis, seeded second, was looking to add the singles title to his collection but it was Chung who would end the month celebrating and a 62 64 victory gave him his second singles title in three weeks and earned him more valuable ranking points as he looks to the next milestone of breaking into the ATP Top 400.