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Hyeon Chung vs Ryan Harrison BB&T Atlanta Open tennis live: Consistent Chung targets Atlanta semi-finals

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 26 Jul 2018
  • Hyeon Chung vs Ryan Harrison is live from Atlanta around 3.30pm local time on Friday (8.30pm BST)
  • First tour-level meeting between the pair
Hyeon Chung (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Third seed Hyeon Chung continues his comeback from an ankle injury when he meets eighth seed Ryan Harrison in the BB&T Atlanta Open quarter-finals on Friday.

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Hyeon Chung made a triumphant return to the ATP World Tour in his Atlanta opener after missing almost three months with an ankle injury - can he make it back-to-back wins and reach the semi-finals on Friday when he comes up against Ryan Harrison? Chung was in the middle of compiling an outstanding 2018 season when his ankle issue flared up and caused him to miss most of the clay season and the grass swing - but the South Korean sensation is determined to make up for lost time. Harrison meanwhile is aiming to reach his first quarter-final since February, when he made the last eight in Acapulco. Chung and Harrison take to court around 3.30pm local time on Friday (8.30pm BST).

Competing in his first match since the Madrid Masters, Chung returned in memorable fashion at the BB&T Atlanta Open on Wednesday, taking out fellow rising star Taylor Fritz in straight sets to move into the quarter-finals. Chung held off a fast-finishing Fritz in the second set tiebreaker to claim a 6-4 7-5(5) victory and secure his first victory since Munich at the start of the clay season.

"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."

After securing the inaugural ATP Next Gen Finals title in Milan at the end of last season, Chung took his game to another level throughout much of the first half of 2018, making at least the quarter-finals of every event he played after a second round exit in his first event of the season in Brisbane. Chung advanced to the ASB Classic quarter-finals in Auckland before becoming the first South Korean in history to make a Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open, conquering Sydney champion Daniil Medvedev, coming back to beat Alexander Zverev 6-0 in the fifth set in the third round and beating his idol Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Terrible blisters on his feet forced Chung to retire in the semis against eventual champion Roger Federer, but the 22-year-old well and truly announced himself as a star of the present - and Chung continued his momentum onto North American hardcourts, reaching the quarter-finals of Delray Beach, Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami, while he also made the semi-finals of the BMW Open on the clay of Munich before his ankle issue forced him onto the sidelines.

All of the aforementioned results propelled Chung into the world’s top 20 for the first time, and despite not playing a match since early May, he’s still managed to keep his ranking afloat at No. 23. Can the South Korean improve that mark by going deeper into the Atlanta Open?

Ryan Harrison (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ryan Harrison is the man who stands in his way on Friday. After a promising start to the season, Harrison’s form dipped during the clay and grass seasons in Europe, but a return to home soil on North American hardcourts has sparked a change of fortunes for him, with Harrison beating James Duckworth and Lukas Lacko in tough three-set battles to reach his first quarter-final since February.

Harrison started this season in superb fashion, finishing runner-up to Nick Kyrgios at the Brisbane International and making the third round of the Australian Open, where he went down to eventual finalist Marin Cilic. Having linked up with former pro Michael Russell - who was one of the hardest working players going around - Harrison appeared to be taking his game to the next level, but he hasn’t been able to make an impact anywhere after going down to Alexander Zverev in the Acapulco quarter-finals, failing to win back-to-back matches in his next 10 tournaments before Atlanta.

A notoriously hot-headed individual on the court, Harrison was also involved in a controversial incident with Donald Young at the New York Open in February - although he was cleared of any wrongdoing by the ATP. Harrison only won six matches after that incident, so you have to wonder if it had any sort of affect on him, but nevertheless, he’s back to winning ways in Atlanta and will be confident of taking advantage of Chung, who is still lacking match practice.

This will be their first-tour level meeting, with Harrison winning their only previous clash at the 2015 Happy Valley Challenger. I wasn’t expecting Chung to be as slick as he was in his first match back, and if he can repeat that level or even slightly improve on it, I think he has the beating of Harrison on Friday. Although Harrison has the superior serve, Chung is the better player from the baseline and also an excellent returner - I expect him to come out on top in the majority of baseline exchanges and thus advance into the semi-finals.

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Hyeon Chung vs Ryan Harrison BB&T Atlanta Open tennis live: Consistent Chung targets Atlanta semi-finals

Third seed Hyeon Chung continues his comeback from an ankle injury when he meets eighth seed Ryan Harrison in the BB&T Atlanta Open quarter-finals on Friday.

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