Less than two months after their first encounter in the semi-final of the Australian Open, Roger Federer and Hyeon Chung have met again in the quarter-final of Indian Wells. This time the Korean stayed on the court for the entire match but Roger proved to be too hard to handle, beating the youngster 7-5 6-1 in an hour and 22 minutes for his 61st win in the desert and the 11th quarter-final at the first Masters 1000 event of the season. The defending champion played a solid match despite a significant number of errors he made, and he broke Chung's resistance at the end of the opening set, never looking back after that.
Both players struggled to find the rhythm in the first 10 games and we didn't see fireworks on the court as they had more errors than direct points, and it was a more aggressive player who finally grabbed the lead with a break in game 12 after four errors from Chung, which set the tone for the rest of the match.
Hyeon was unable to impose his shots and control the baseline rallies with his accurate groundstrokes, struggling to find the first serve and to move Roger away from the comfort zone. Federer wanted to keep the points on his racquet by any means and he managed to win a little bit more winners than errors if we include the unreturned serves he hit.
Hyeon was unable to follow the same pace, especially in the second set when he lost his ground completely, and his mediocre serve cost him dearly once again, losing almost half of the points in his games. Roger fends off five out of six break points to limit the damage in his games, including four at the start of the second set that totally stole the thunder from Hyeon's shots.
Roger was 19-10 in front in service winners but it has to be said that he made the difference in set number two, since he had a slim 10-8 advantage after the opening set. The Korean was unable to create more free space and open the court for winners from the field, firing just eight while Roger counted to 18, which also gave him the upper hand.
The winners pretty much determined the winner of the match when we know they were close to each other in the errors department, with 37 for Roger and 35 for Hyeon. Federer couldn't find the range on his forehand and he finished the match on 20 unforced and 16 forced errors, and on the other hand Hyeon was missing from both wings equally, spraying 17 unforced and 15 forced mistakes.
Roger was 44-32 in front in the shortest points up to four strokes thanks to those service winners he fired, but outside of that Chung fought well in the department that is not his cup of tea. The problem for the Korean is that he failed to make the advantage in the longer points ad Roger outplayed him 28-23 in the points that went beyond the fifth shot, another key element in Swiss' win.
Roger opened the match with four winners and he scored an instant break in game number two after winning five points in a row! Hyeon was 40-0 up but he made four errors in a row before Roger closed the game with a beautiful forehand lob that moved him in front.
Federer fired four service winners in game three to sail through a 3-0 lead and Hyeon got his name on the scoreboard in the following game, reducing the deficit to 3-1. It was Roger's turn to give his serve away in game five, losing four points in a row to let Hyeon climb back on the scoreboard, and nothing could separate them in the following five games.
Hyeon hit two winners at deuce in game six and Roger gained another lead with four winners in game seven, continuing to fire from every opportunity and short ball from his opponent. The Korean fought well in his games, taking the ball early and keeping the pressure on Roger who hit an ace for a hold at 30 in game six.
The next few minutes proved to be crucial and Chung destroyed everything he had built since the start of the match, spraying four errors to give the serve and the set away after 46 minutes. Roger returned all Hyeon's serves and he took the initiative that gave him the edge and eventually the set.
Roger was 10-8 in front in service winners and 8-4 in the winners from the field, which was rather expected. The Swiss made 12 unforced errors compared to 11 from Hyeon and nine forced mistakes to eight from the Korean and everything was decided in that last game.
Chung served at only 50% but he gave his best to stay in touch with Roger, falling short just before the tie break. The first game of the second set was the longest of the match and Roger saved four break points to avoid an early setback.
He saved three of those with winners and he closed the game with the longest exchange of the match that saw 24 strokes. Hyeon faded from the court after missing this opportunity and he was unable to control his shots anymore and resist against Roger's attacks.
A very important game was in front of the Korean and he couldn't deal with the pressure, making four errors in game two to lose serve and found himself a set and a break down. Federer held at love in game three and he added four service winners in game five to move 4-1 in front.
He converted the third break point in game six to increase his lead, returning all 10 Chung's serves and earning another break after a double fault from his rival who had to take a risk in order to move Roger from a good position for the return.
Roger saved a break point in the following game and he wrapped up his win with two aces to book the place in the semis. It was 9-2 for Roger in service winners in set number two, a big difference compared to the opening set, and he had a 10-4 lead in the winners from the field.
Roger made a little bit more errors, 8-6 in unforced and 7-7 in forced but he could easily afford that with a 19-6 advantage he had in winners department.
Point by point result and the number of shots in the rallies: