By Nam Hyun-woo

ATP Tourist Chung Hyeon clinched his fourth Challenger title, beating Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 2-0 (6-3, 6-1) in the finals of ATP Busan Open Challenger, Sunday.

With the victory at the Spo1 Tennis Courts in Busan, Chung collected 110 points for his ATP ranking and pocketed $14,400 prize money. Chung is now the world’s 88th rank and is expected to break into top 70 in the table soon.

“Lacko seemed to be in bad condition in the second set,” Chung said. “Winning an event always makes me so happy. I didn’t set a specific ranking that I would reach before this season. But, I have a clear goal that I want to win a match at a Grand Slam tournament.”

Chung, who hoisted his first Challenger trophy at the Bangkok Open in August, 2014, has had momentum this year, winning the Burnie Challenger in Australia in February andthe St. Joseph’sCandler Savannah Challenger last month. The victory at the Savannah Challenger made him the second Korean to break into top 100, following Lee Hyung-taik in 2000.

This is the first time that the 18-year-old has won a competition where the total prize money reaches $100,000. He also grabbed a direct ticket to Wimbledon that takes place in June.

Chung outperformed Lacko, the world No. 100, throughout the match. The Slovakian, whose career-high is No. 44, tried to fend off Chung’s accurate shots with his powerful strokes, but could not overcome Chung’s coverage over the court.

In the first set, the finalists held two games apiece, but Chung broke Game 5 with a stunninglob, which drew applause from some 3,000 fans at the court. In the second set, Chung broke Game 2 after the match’s first deuce, which Lacko appealed to the judge, and displayed a magical combination lob and drop shot in Game 4, which dealt the finishing blow to Lacko. After the score went 5-0, the Slovakian managed to hold Game 6, but fell short of breaking a single game.

With the victory, Chung maintained his 10-match winning streak. The tournament, which marks its 17th edition, had its fourth Korean winner, following Kim Young-jun in 2003, Lee in 2006 and Lim Yong-kyu in 2010.

Before the singles finals, the Korean pair of Nam Ji-sung and Song Min-kyu played against Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana of Thailand in the doubles final, but failed to hoist the trophy after a 1-2 (6(2)-7, 6-3, 7-10) loss.

Chung is expected to participate in another Challenger tournament on Korean soil, the Seoul Open Challenger, which runs through May 17.

SOURCE: The Korea Times