Millman spoils punter's $35,000 Federer play

Ross Houston
September 4, 2018

Closed poorly, too. And now he's gone, beaten at the U.S. Open by an opponent ranked outside the top 50 for the first time in his career. Before the start of the grass-court season, Federer invited Millman to train with him in Switzerland.

Federer said the unfancied Australian handled the heat better than he did. "That's been a constant with me ever since I played the game, because, if you do that, you start behind the eight ball straight away". "I thought John played a great match in hard conditions". "Today he was not at his best but I'll take it".

However, there also seems to be another factor as to why Federer failed to reach the quarter-final, and he's discussed it in his post-match presser.

Millman, unseeded and ranked 55th in the world, sealed the win in three hours and 34 minutes and had some amusing things to say in his courtside interview after the match.

He reached the quarterfinals for an 11th consecutive appearance in NY as he bids for a third U.S. Open championship and 14th Grand Slam trophy.

A tie-break was required, raising the volume on a court that had often been stunned into near silence, and incredibly it was Millman who prevailed, coming from 3-1 down and saving one set point before taking his second.

Of the other seven men who contested the inaugural "NextGen" finals in Milan last year, the best run at the US Open came from 21-year-old Borna Coric who went to the last-16. "I've never played anyone's reputation".

In a life-changing performance, Millman left Federer - and fans at Arthur Ashe Stadium - shellshocked with a 3-6 7-5 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-3) comeback victory to book a quarter-final date with another all-time great, Novak Djokovic. To add to his résumé, though, he might need to beat Federer, who has won five of his men's-record 20 major titles at Flushing Meadows.

Not since Pat Rafter handed a tantrum-throwing Federer a tennis lesson on the then-18-year-old's grand slam debut at Roland Garros in 1999 had an Australian conquered the great Swiss at a major. He put only 49 per cent of his first serves in play, including a hard-to-believe 31 per cent in the second set.

He finished with 77 unforced errors and 10 double faults and squandered set points in the second and third sets.

But the 29-year-old Brisbane native with no titles to his name might have won his share of fans in NY.

The Australian said he froze in the first set but was able to take control by relying on his fighting qualities.

Indeed it is hard to think that his new Japanese clothing sponsor, Uniqlo, would have signed the deal with him earlier this summer were there not some kind of indication that he would go on until at least the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

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