Johannesburg = The past two weeks of the Australian Open were full of surprises, with some young players writing their names in the history books.
The two players who got the most attention from the media were Johannesburg-born Briton Kyle Edmund – who reached his career best in a grand slam after making it to the final four – and South Korean Chung Hyeon, who reached the same milestone the first time.
Edmund’s outstanding performance made this year’s Australian Open one to remember for many tennis-loving South Africans.
However, many local tennis fans might have been annoyed by Edmund earlier in the tournament when he eliminated fellow Johannesburg-born tennis player Kevin Anderson in a five-set thriller.
In the second round, Edmund eased past world No 60 Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan before beating world No 61 Nikoloz Basilashvili from Georgia in the next round.
His superb form continued in the second week of the tournament, when he showed Italian Andreas Seppi the door, paving the way for a match against world No 3 Grigor Dimitrov.
Edmund defeated Dimitrov to secure a place in the grand slam semi-final.
However, his fairytale run came to an end when he lost to world No 6 Marin Cilic after sustaining a hip injury.
When Edmund was asked about the injury after the game, he said: “It’s unfortunate, but it happens. I’m definitely disappointed.”
Edmund has been a professional tennis player since 2012.
He is expected to climb 23 places to a career-high position of 26 when the new world rankings are revealed tomorrow.
If he continues to perform well, the 23-year-old will most likely be seeded for the French Open as well as the Wimbledon Championships.
Although he is currently based in Britain, Edmund’s mother Denise is originally from South Africa and his father Steven was born in Wales.
Chung also rose to the occasion and made a name for himself at the tournament when he defeated 12-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic in the fourth round.
On his way to the semi-finals, he beat the Zverev brothers, Mischa and Alexander, before losing to Roger Federer on Friday.
This morning, Federer is expected to win his 20th grand slam and a record sixth Australian title when he defends his title against Cilic.