In the second men’s semifinal of the 2018 Australian Open, one side of the court will be occupied by arguably the greatest player of all-time, a man with five titles here in Melbourne, 19 overall Grand Slam titles, over 1,100 match wins and in general far too many accomplishments to make this a succinct lede. On the other, a 21-year-old with one career ATP title and 10 Grand Slam match wins. It’s Roger Federer vs. Hyeon Chung inside Rod Laver Arena for a trip to the 2018 Australian Open final.
If you live in the United States, the match will start late Thursday night/early Friday morning at around 3:30 a.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN. That means you can watch a live stream via WatchESPN if you have a cable log-in, but if you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV (AKA you want to watch in bed on your phone), you can watch the match online, on your phone or on another streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services. They cost a monthly fee but all come with a free trial, so you can watch the rest of the Australian Open at no cost:
DirecTV Now: There are four main channel packages, and ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN 3 are included in all of them. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and once signed up, you can watch ESPN’s coverage on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app
Sling TV: ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN 3 are all included in the “Sling Orange” base package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial right here, and then you can watch ESPN on your computer via the Sling website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app
PlayStation Vue: There are four main channel packages, and ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN 3 are included in all of them. You can sign up for a free 5-day trial right here, and then you can watch ESPN on your computer via the PS Vue website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the PlayStation Vue app
Note: You can watch ESPN on your computer via the WatchESPN website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the WatchESPN app. When asked to sign in to your TV provider, you can use your DirecTV Now, Sling TV or PS Vue credentials to sign in.
It’s just hard to put into words the difference in experience between these two players. Federer has nearly double the career Grand Slam titles (19) as Chung has Grand Slam match victories (10). Federer, the all-time leader in career earnings, has collected over $111 million in paychecks throughout his career. Chung, not the all-time leader in career earnings, has made about 1.5 percent of that ($1.71 million). Federer is ranked second in the world. Chung is 58th.
Nevertheless, the 21-year-old, who became the first person from South Korea to make it to a Grand Slam semifinal, is hardly someone to be written off. In the third round, he scored his first career Top-10 victory when he took down Alexander Zverev after trailing 2 sets to 1. In the fourth round, he ousted six-time Australian Open champ Novak Djokovic in straight sets, and although Djokovic clearly wasn’t healthy, it was still spectacular performance. And in the quarters, he made relatively easy work of a game Tennys Sandgren.
Chung may not have the experience of a top player, but he has the look of a future star. And he has proven he isn’t going to fear anyone.
That said, it’s going to take some kind of superhuman effort to topple Fed-Ex. The 36-year-old, who enjoyed a resurgent 2017 season that saw him capture his fifth Australian Open title, looks to be in similar form in 2018. In his first action since the ATP World Tour Finals, he has run through his first five opponents in Melbourne without dropping a set, looking as unstoppable as ever.
Federer is the clear favorite to win this match and the tournament, but it’s still a fascinating clash of past and present vs future.