Roger Federer said he struggled for air on a punishingly humid New York night as he went out of the US Open with a shock defeat by John Millman.
The Australian, ranked No.55, fought back to win 3-6 7-5 7-6(7) 7-6(3) to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, and ensure Federer’s wait for a first title at Flushing Meadows since 2008 goes on.
Federer had two points on serve for a two-set lead but the No.2 seed’s game fell away dramatically, and he ended the match with a lowly first-serve percentage of 49 per cent, 10 double faults and a crushing 76 unforced errors.
The 27-year-old Swiss was full of praise for Millman’s performance, saying he played “a great match in difficult conditions”.
“It was very hot tonight,” added Federer.
“It was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all. I don’t know, for some reason I just struggled in the conditions tonight. It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me.
Absolutely stunning upset as @johnhmillman defeats Federer 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium!
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 4, 2018
“But John was able to deal with it better. He maybe comes from one of the most humid places on earth, Brisbane. I knew I was in for a tough one.
“Maybe when you feel like that, as well, you start missing chances, and I had those. That was disappointing. But, look, at some point also I was just happy that the match was over, I guess.”
Millman took full advantage of an off-key Federer to claim the biggest win of his career, and another milestone in an encouraging season after years of injury problems.
“In all honesty, Roger’s a hero of mine,” said the 29-year-old.
“I look up to him. I really like his team. He’s always been one of the guys in the locker rooms, we’ll always chat, very approachable.
“I felt a little bit guilty today because he didn’t have his best day, and that’s for sure. I know that. I’m very aware he didn’t have a great day in the office.
“Probably to beat him I needed him to have an off day and I needed to have a decent, good day.”
I got nothing on you bud..
— John Millman (@johnhmillman) September 4, 2018
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