Roger Federer suffered a shock loss to John Millman at the US Open on Monday night, preventing a blockbuster quarterfinal with Novak Djokovic.
Millman will instead meet the Serb in the last eight after stunning Federer 3-6 7-5 7-6(7) 7-6(3) under lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The Australian came into the match having lost all 10 of his previous meetings against top-10 players, and was featuring in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
But after dropping the first set against the sharp-looking second seed, Millman turned the match into an increasingly physical battle – and proved the fitter, fresher player.
“I felt like a bit of a deer in headlights to begin with, to be honest with you. The feet weren’t moving, Roger had it on a string, he was manipulating me around the court,” Millman said.
“But I got out of a tough second set and really found my feet and started to be a little bit more aggressive.
“I’m probably in a bit of disbelief. I have so much respect for Roger and everything he’s done for the game, and he’s been a hero of mine.
“Today he was definitely not at his best but, you know, I’ll take it.”
what a pleasure to interview John after his amazing ???? victory over RF2.0
— Brad Gilbert (@bgtennisnation) September 4, 2018
The match hinged on an epic 14-minute game early in the second set. Millman had seven break points and failed to convert any of them, but the signs were more worrying for Federer, who struggled to land any first serves and who was being forced into a grind.
Although he held serve for 1-1 and eventually served for a two-sets-to-love lead at 5-4, he missed two set points at 40-15 and never recovered.
Emboldened, Millman saved another set point in the third set tiebreak and clawed his way back from 4-2 down in the fourth to force another tiebreaker.
There, Federer’s game completed collapsed. Groundstroke errors and back-to-back double faults gave Millman an insurmountable 6-1 lead, which he converted three points later to post a career-defining victory.
Men’s QF are set:
????????Nadal ???? Thiem????????
????????Del Potro ???? Isner????????
????????Cilic ???? Nishikori????????
????????Djokovic ???? Millman????????#USOpen
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 4, 2018
Federer finished the match with 10 double faults among 76 unforced errors.
“I think I started to serve really well. And probably capitalised a little bit on Roger having an off service day,” Millman said.
“I’ve got to control the controllables. And I said that before I went out and played. And the one thing I can control is the fight in me.
“I’ve always done that throughout my career; it hasn’t been too easy. But I’ve always brought the fight out and that’s what it’s about, when I’m kind of revving myself up.”
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