Aus Open’s horribly ‘shocking’ meltdown
GERMAN fourth seed Alexander Zverev has been knocked out of the Australian Open in the third round, falling in five sets to South Korean rising star Hyeon Chung.
The 21-year-old Chung rallied late in Saturday's match, winning the last seven games to clinch a 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 6-3 6-0 victory in three hours and 22 minutes.
It continues a run of underachievement at grand slams for Zverev, who is yet to live up to his enormous potential on the big stage.
The 20-year-old already has six ATP titles but is yet to reach the quarter-finals of a major from 11 attempts.
The final set statistics make for ugly reading for Zverev. He won just five points, fired off only two winners and made 14 unforced errors compared to just one for Chung.
Things went downhill in spectacular fashion for Zverev after he complained about playing in the dark during the fourth set.
After going down 4-1 the German exploded about the lights not being turned on at the venue.
"Turn on the lights!" Zverev yelled at the umpire. "I can't see the ball on his serve.
"They haven't even turned it on, it's unbelievable.
"You don't see that's dark? It's unbelievable, how do they not turn it on?"
He won the next game to make it 4-2 but his mood didn't improve.
"For the last four games I've been asking to turn on the lights because it's dark," Zverev said.
"Can we sit down and wait then because he's serving? I can't see the ball. He's throwing the ball up into the darkness - I can't see it."
The crowd jeered Zverev as he made his displeasure known.
Speaking after the match, Zverev explained what set him off.
"I told him (the umpire) for about six games to turn the lights on because it was cloudy, it was dark," Zverev said. "And after about five games, they still didn't turn the lights on.
"I was asking, 'Can you please turn the lights on, because it's not that difficult?'
"After a while, they did. That's it."
Chung won the fourth set 6-3 to send it to a decider as Zverev's meltdown spiralled further out of control.
At one stage he'd lost 13 points in a row to go down 0-3, then destroyed a racquet, snapping it with his foot.
Aussie legend Todd Woodbridge described the implosion as a "capitulation" and it only got worse as Chung hit Zverev with a fifth set bagel to win 5-7 7-6 2-6 6-3 6-0.
It is world No. 58 Chung's first tour win over a top-10 ranked player, setting up a fourth-round showdown with six-time winner Novak Djokovic or Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
The reigning Next Gen Finals champion has seen off two Zverevs at Melbourne Park after Alexander's older brother Mischa's retirement during their first-round match.
"It was (a) really tough match again today," Chung said.
"Alex Zverev is a really good player. I'm just trying to play 100 per cent on court.
"I play Novak like two, three years ago in Rod Laver (Arena). And I have one more chance to play with him if he wins tonight."
Zverev spoke openly about his inability to convert his form on the ATP tour to grand slams, acknowledging he has some mental demons to conquer.
"Definitely not physical, so ... I have some figuring out to do, what happens to me in deciding moments in grand slams," he said.
"It happened at Wimbledon. It happened in New York. It happened here.
"I'm still young, so I got time (smiling). I definitely have some figuring out to do for myself."