Launceston TAS, Australia, 15 February 2015 | David Packman

Aussie Jordan Thompson has been knocked out of the 2015 Neville Smith Forest Products Launceston International after losing a hard-fought semifinal to rising Korean teenager Hyeon Chung 5-7 6-3 7-5 in over three hours on Saturday night.

“I’m happy to win,” Chung said after the match, as he edges ever closer to his goal of reaching the top 100.

The pair started evenly before a rain interruption briefly halted play, but on return it was fifth seed Chung who landed the first blow, breaking Thompson’s serve and taking a stranglehold on the opening set.

However, the 20-year-old from Sydney was not to be outdone, lifting his output to string together four consecutive games and snatch the first set away from the Korean.

After a comfortable hold to begin the second set, Chung put all kinds of pressure on Thompson’s next service game but after a mammoth effort in which he saved seven break points, the Australian held firm and kept the momentum on his side.

Yet it wasn’t to be as the Korean began to take control with his powerful stroke making, eventually squaring the match at a set apiece.

Attempting to make it back-to-back ATP Challenger titles after winning in Burnie last week, Chung continued to fire and eventually stood at the brink, serving for the match at 5-4. Despite holding match point, he was unable to seal the deal as Thompson clinched the vital break back with his second opportunity.

Seemingly flagging after his workload over the previous fortnight, Chung appeared vulnerable, but he drove for the line, once again taking the Thompson serve – this time on a double fault – after both players had opportunities.

He was not to be denied at the second asking, convincingly serving out the match.

The loss aside, it’s been a solid week for Thompson after reaching a semifinal at ATP Challenger level for just the third time in his career.

In the other semifinal, China’s Zhang Ze was forced to retire after losing the first set 6-3 to unseeded American Bjorn Frantangelo.

“I’m feeling good, feeling confident,” Chung said ahead of the upcoming final and the opportunity to win two titles in a row.