Chung Hyeon slays Tomas Berdych in Indian Wells

Australian Open semi-finalist Chung Hyeon has continued his string of giant killing in Indian Wells, out-stroking 12th seeded Tomas Berdych 6-4 6-4 to make the round of 16.

It was the second time the 21 year-old South Korean, ranked 26th would qualify for the fourth round at a Masters 1000 in his career and his first in Indian Wells.

It was also his first victory in three FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings with the Czech and the first time he had even taken a set.

Chung had already tasted hard-court success on a big stage this season after he became the first South Korean to reach a Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open.

His victims in Melbourne included Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic before a blister derailed his semi-final match against eventual champion Roger Federer.

Should Chung reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final with a win over No. 30 seed Pablo Cuevas in the fourth round, he could earn a hard-court rematch with Federer, provided the defending champion defeated unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy next.

Against Berdych, Chung started the stronger breaking for 3-1 before being reeled in for 4-4. Crunching his service returns, Chung caught Berdych out of position to draw a forehand wide as he broke again for 5-4 and served out the opening set at the 41-minute mark.

Appearing at the BNP Paribas Open for the 14th straight year, 2013 Indian Wells semi-finalist Berdych had reached the quarter-finals or better at three of his four prior events, including the Australian Open.

But after the Czech was broken early in the second set, it was Chung who carried the momentum to reach the round of 16 at an Masters 1000 event for the second time in his career.

Defending champion Roger Federer has also qualified for the 4th round, after he demolished Filip Krajinovic 6-2 6-1.

In the next round, Federer faces Jeremy Chardy, who beat fellow Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

In other men’s matches, fifth seeded Dominic Thiem became the latest top seed to fall as he was forced to retire from his match with Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay in the third set with a right ankle sprain. Cuevas was leading 3-6, 6-4, 4-2 when Thiem packed it in. He will meet Hyeon Chung in the fourth round.

Also, American Taylor Fritz defeated Fernando Verdasco of Spain, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1), Croatia’s Borna Coric breezed past Roberto Bautista 6-1, 6-3 and Pablo Carreno-Busta of Spain, stopped Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-1, 7-5.

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