Australia’s John Millman has played the match of his life to defeat an out of sorts Roger Federer. The five-time U.S. Open champion looked to be heading towards a comfortable straight sets win but John Millman had other ideas.
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Photo: Australia’s John Millman pulls off one of the upsets of the US Open after defeating Roger Federer (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The US Open radio proclaimed this the biggest upset in sport. That is perhaps overstating the win. John Millman has defeated Roger Federer in a huge upset in the fourth round at the US Open. The world no. 55 took the match 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(7), 7-6(3).
Before the match, Millman was asked what has made the difference for him as he had reached the last 16 of a grand slam for the first time. He said “staying fit and healthy, you know I have had an extended period of time where I have been able to play matches and stay on court and the results have come with it”.
Federer was 35-2 in night matches at the US Open.
Millman had a break point against the Federer serve in the very first game of the match, but an ace saved that. On the next point, Federer slipped after playing an overhead that Millman got to but hit wide.
Federer was looking sharp at the start of the match and broke his opponent in the second game to love. It was a hot and humid night in New York conditions that Federer later said affected his game.
The great Swiss player again had a break point in the fourth game before Millman fought that off and then got on the board for 3-1 with Federer to serve. At 1-4 with Millman serving Federer again had a break point. An unforced error from Federer as he hit sliced the service return into the net saved the game for Millman.
Federer eventually took the first set 6-3.
With Federer serving for a two love lead at 40-15 Millman fought back to break Federer, this was helped by several unforced errors including a double fault on break point. Millman held service and broke again to claim the second set 7-5. Federer was serving poorly at just 36%.
The third set was a repeat of the second Federer again had a set point but failed to convert at 6-5 in the tiebreak letting Milman fight back for a 9-7 win. We were now seeing the unthinkable, Federer was down two sets to one.
In the fourth set Federer was up a break but then played a sub-standard game to allow Millman to break him again.
The match then headed into a tiebreaker and Federer played as if he was the lower ranked player. Federer won the opening point before Millman jumped out to a 6-1 lead. Federer was just making uncharacteristic errors including two double faults. It was unforced errors galore from Federer.
Federer got back to 6-3 before making yet another unforced error hitting well long to give Millman his biggest ever victory.
Federer was not playing his normal game he was intent on rushing to the net and converted 63% of points at the net he gave Millman the chance to pass to frequently. In the first two sets Ferderer was serving at just 36% as he struggled to find rhythm he did, however, improve in the third set but still there were too many unforced errors from the great Swiss player.
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Photo: NEW YORK, USA – SEPTEMBER 4: John Millman (R) of Australia congratulates Roger Federer (L) of Switzerland after defeating him during US Open 2018 tournament in New York, United States on September 4, 2018. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Despite Ferderer not playing at the peak of his powers you have to give credit to Millman he kept the unforced error count down and made Federer work for every point.
“I have so much respect for Roger, he is a hero of mine…Today he wasn’t at his best but I’ll take it,” Millman said.
For Millman this was his first win versus an ATP top 10 player from 11 attempts and Federer’s first loss to a player outside the top 50 at the US Open, he was 40-0.
Federer hit 76 unforced errors to 28 from Millman, with the winners going 65 to 47 to Federer. The Swiss player served at only 49% to 64% for Millman. This was a rare stat to see from Federer.
Millman said he felt like a deer in headlights early on in the match, but after digging his way out of the second set he really found his feet and started serving better.
Speaking at the post-match press conference Federer said, “I just thought it was very hot tonight. 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.
Yeah, it’s uncomfortable. Clearly just keep on sweating more and more and more and more as the match goes on. You lose energy as it goes by.
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”.
Millman is just the second Australian to defeat Federer in a grand slam match and the first since Pat Rafter in 1999.
The win by Millman denies the tennis world of the blockbuster matchup between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
The big test now will be to see how Millman backs up from his huge upset when he takes on Djokovic in the quarter-finals.
Millman said, “Yeah, why not? Again, I’ll have to improve a lot on the last time I played him. He’s an incredible player. I think he’s in some really good form right now, too.
Yeah, but why not? I think it’s a disservice to who I am if I go out there and don’t have that belief.” when asked about his upcoming match with Djokovic.
Millman is now in uncharted waters having never gone past the third round at a Grandslam tournament.