04:31 AM GMT November 12, 2017
Hyeon Chung made history on Saturday in Milan, becoming the first champion of the Next Gen ATP Finals. The Korean defeated Andrey Rublev 3-4(5), 4-3(2), 4-2, 4-2 to earn his maiden ATP World Tour title. The 21-year-old completed an undefeated 5-0 campaign in the Italian city, streaking past Denis Shapovalov, Daniil Medvedev, Gianluigi Quinzi and top seed Rublev twice to lift the trophy.
How momentous was Chung's victory? We dive into the five things to know about the #NextGenATP's triumph...
(1) Korea's Newest Champion
Chung became the first player from South Korea to hoist an ATP World Tour singles trophy since Hyung-Taik Lee captured the 2003 Sydney title (d. Ferrero). It was also his first final appearance, with his previous best result (SF) coming in Munich earlier this year. With teenagers Soon Woo Kwon and Duckhee Lee also positioned inside the Top 200 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, the future is bright for the Asian nation.
(2) First Timer's Club
In his final tournament of the season, Chung added his name to the list of first-time ATP World Tour winners in 2017. He became the eighth to win a maiden title this year and third among the #NextGenATP contingent, joining Marrakech champion Borna Coric and Rublev, who prevailed in Umag. Last year, nine players notched their first crowns.
(3) Comeback Kid
Chung had his back against the wall throughout his stay at the Fiera Milano, but he stepped up in the clutch on all occasions. Three times the Korean found himself in an early deficit after dropping the first set. And three times he muscled his way to victory, including in Saturday's championship. What makes Chung's escape acts even more remarkable is that he had rallied from a one-set deficit just twice all year, entering Milan. One of those victories came against Rublev at the Winston-Salem Open in August.
(4) From Maui to Milan
Chung became the sixth player to win on both the ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour this year, joining Ryan Harrison, Yuichi Sugita, Victor Estrella Burgos, Damir Dzumhur and Peter Gojowczyk. In January, Chung lifted the trophy on the hard courts of Maui, U.S.A., in what was his lone Challenger appearance of the season. It was his eighth victory on the circuit in total.
(5) Overcoming Obstacles
Despite enduring a catalogue of injuries and ailments throughout the year, Chung was the last #NextGenATP standing on Saturday. After withdrawing from Indian Wells with a heel injury, he missed the entire grass-court season due to a left ankle issue and recently pulled out of both Shenzhen and Tokyo with an abdominal ailment. Behind a pair of five-set victories, the 21-year-old was a physical force throughout the week in Milan. Just 10 spots off his career-high of No. 44 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, no ceiling is too high for the Korean.