A badly blistered foot stopped Hyeon Chung’s unexpected progress at the Australian Open in January, forcing the 21-year-old from South Korea to retire during the second set of his semifinal match against Roger Federer. The first set was a 6-1 breeze for Federer and the Swiss master led the second set 5-2 when Chung determined he couldn’t continue, but it would have been interesting to see what a healthy Chung might have done against Federer as a followup to his earlier victories over Sascha Zverev and Novak Djokovic.
Chung, who has improved his world ranking from 58 during the Australian Open to a career-best 26 as of last week, will get another shot at Federer in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open. Chung needed 10 match points to finish off his fourth-round match against Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas on Wednesday but finally closed out a 6-1, 6-3 victory. Federer, smooth as ever, overwhelmed unseeded Jeremy Chardy of France 7-5, 6-4 to run his match record this year to 15-0 and continued pursuit of his sixth title here.
Chung knows what’s in store for him against Federer. “I’m just trying to [play] 100% my tennis, for sure, because he play great tennis. I’m just trying to focus on my match,” said Chung, the first player from South Korea to reach the quarterfinals of an ATP Masters 1000 tournament. “He’s playing really good this year so far, as well, so I don’t know. 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.”
Federer said he felt bad for Chung’s medical misfortune at the Australian Open. “Seeing the blister after, that wasn’t very nice. I can just imagine how much pain there is to it,” Federer said. “I hope he’s OK now….He seems fine and he played a great match [Wednesday].”
Halep fends off Martic, winds
Top-seeded Simona Halep struggled with brisk winds that swirled in the afternoon but regrouped for a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory over unseeded Petra Martic of Croatia that put her into the semifinals. Halep, the last of seven former BNP Paribas champions in the competition, won the last five games against Martic, whose No. 51 world ranking puts her 50 below Halep. “After 3-1, I just woke up and I realized that I’m not doing the right thing on court,” said Halep, who will face the winner of the Wednesday night quarterfinal between Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova.
“I think I calmed down myself a little bit more and I just was more focused on what I have to do, not about the wind, not thinking that much about the wind and what is going on, on court,” she said. “I just fought til the end, and I think that’s why I could win.”
Sam Querrey of the U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Feliciano Lopez of Spain. Querrey, the No. 18 seed, will face the winner of Wednesday’s late fourth-round match between Milos Raonic of Canada and Marcos Baghdatis of Cypress
No. 7 Kevin Anderson of South Africa outhit No. 11 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) to advance to the quarterfinals. Anderson will face 21-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia, who outlasted Taylor Fritz of Rancho Palos Verdes 6-2, 6-7(6) 6-4 in the first match of the day.
Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, the No. 31 seed, defeated unseeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, 6-4, 7-6 (1) to reach the quarterfinals. Kohlschreiber, who previously upset No. 2 Marin Cilic, will face No. 6 Juan Martin Del Potro or unseeded Leonardo Mayer.
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