Hyeon Chung made a triumphant return to the ATP World Tour on Wednesday to defeat #NextGenATP American Taylor Fritz at the BB&T Atlanta Open. The 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals champion saw off the 20-year-old American 6-4, 7-6(5) to reach the quarter-finals.
The South Korean had reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final in January at the Australian Open and made the quarter-finals or better at seven events this season before a right ankle injury kept him sidelined since 8 May. This was his first match since an opening round defeat at the Mutua Madrid Open.
“I’m really happy to win after two months injured,” Chung said. “I’m really trying to focus on the match but it was a little bit hot, so I had to try to focus on all of the points. Physically I felt all good because I was training a lot in the past two months.”
Fritz, sixth place in the Race to Milan, was bidding to reach his fourth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season. Trailing a set and a break, he managed to peg back level for 4-4 in the second set before the South Korean went on to clinch the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting in a tie-break.
“He has a really good serve and big forehand, so I had many chances to finish in the second set but he was serving ace, ace, ace,” Chung said. “Tough second set. Anyway I’m really happy to win the match. After 10 weeks, I was really happy to be on the court.”
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German Mischa Zverev ended Russian Mikhail Youzhny’s final Atlanta campaign on Wednesday. The No. 7 seed prevailed 6-4, 6-2 over the 36-year-old former World No. 8. Youzhny announced after his opening round defeat of Emil Reinberg he would retire after the St. Petersburg Open in September.
“I think the conditions were good for me,” Zverev said. “Youzhny doesn’t like it, I think, when the ball bounces too high and goes quick through the air. So I was able to get a lot of easy points off of him, especially with my serve and also when he was serving using his second serve. I think that was key.”
The 30-year-old was coming off a run to his maiden ATP World Tour title last month on the grass at the Nature Valley International. He awaits the winner of top seed John Isner and Australian Alex de Minaur in the quarter-finals.
“Eastbourne was beautiful. It was a great, great feeling, a great experience,” he said. “I’m happy I can finally say yeah I have a title, which is good.”