Hyeon Chung reacts after beating Tennys Sandgren.
Hyeon Chung reacts after beating Tennys Sandgren. JOE CASTRO

Rising star seals spot in semis

TENNIS: Rising star Hyeon Chung has created tennis history, becoming the first Korean player to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament.

The 21-year-old sealed his place in the final four by downing fellow tournament surprise packet Tennys Sandgren 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in their quarter-final on Wednesday.

Fresh from claiming the biggest scalp of his career courtesy of defeating Novak Djokovic in the fourth round, Chung didn't suffer from any comedown, maintaining his high standards to overcome Sandgren in straight sets.

Chung is the youngest man into a semi-final at Melbourne Park since Marin Cilic in 2010, and as the world No.58 he's the lowest ranked Australian Open semi-finalist since Marat Safin made the final four ranked 86th in 2004.

Tennys Sandgren of USA in action during his quarter round match against Hyeon Chung of South Korea at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 24 January 2018. (AAP Image/Joe Castro) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Tennys Sandgren on the move in his quarter-fnal. JOE CASTRO

"I'm just trying to stay focused because it's my first time in one of these matches so I'm just trying to keep focused,” Chung said.

Chung will face either defending champion Roger Federer or 19th seed Tomas Berdych in the semis but he is not bothered by who he plays.

"I don't know. 50-50. Whoever wins I'll just play, I don't care,” he said.

Sandgren struggled to match Chung early, dropping the first set but the American looked to be getting back into the contest when he claimed a break early in the second.

Chung however recovered to send the second into a tiebreak and then grabbed a break early in the third.

Hyeon Chung of South Korea in action against Tennys Sandgren of the United States during the mens quarterfinals on day ten at the Australian Open tennis tournament, in Melbourne, Australia,  Wednesday, January 24, 2018. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Hyeon Chung serves against Tennys Sandgren. LUKAS COCH

Serving at 5-2 he looked set to cruise to victory but Chung tightened up in the final game, before eventually claiming victory on his sixth match point.

"In the last game at 40-0 up I was thinking what I had to do at the ceremony, something like that, and after the break points I was like, nothing to do with ceremony, but just keep playing, stay focused,” Chung said.

The had pair endured a nervy start to the match when an evacuation alarm sounded around Rod Laver Arena just as play was about to begin.

While some in the stands reportedly left their seats upon hearing a message over the PA system telling them to evacuate, it was later confirmed to be a false alarm.