Federer beats gallant Millman in Brisbane
Roger Federer has made a winning start to his Australian tennis summer but not without a scare from John Millman.
Roger Federer has made a winning start to his Australian tennis summer but not without a scare from unheralded local John Millman.
The Swiss great had to battle from a set and a break down midway through the second set to claim a hard-fought 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over world No.153 Millman.
Federer will face another Australian in Friday’s quarter-finals after James Duckworth reached the last eight of a tournament for the first time in his ATP Tour career with an earlier victory over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen.
Millman, who played Andy Murray at the same event in 2013, showed no nerves against 33-year-old Federer.
He made a brilliant start against his more illustrious opponent, matching him service game to service game until a heart-pounding sequence in Federer’s fifth service game of the opening set.
Playing some inspired tennis, Millman opened up a 0-40 lead and three set points.
It appeared he’d blown his moment when Federer rallied to take the game to deuce.
But Millman kept his cool and secured the break and the set shortly afterwards.
The Brisbane product showed he wasn’t content with just a set against the old master as he continued his stunning form in the second set.
The crowd went to fever pitch when a passing shot in the fourth game of the set sealed another break and put Millman ahead 3-1, the Australian roaring in delight as he realised the upset was on.
That moment sparked Federer into life however, with the former world No.1 reeling off four straight games on his way to a 6-4 second set win.
He then showed all of his big match experience to keep Millman at arm’s length, breaking the hometown favourite twice in the final set to secure the win.
Federer paid compliment to his opponent after the match, admitting he’d had to raise his game to get past Millman.
“I got quite lucky there in the second set,” Federer said.
“First match of the season, you never know what to expect.
“I’m sweating like crazy but happy to get through.”
Millman’s demise leaves three Australians in the last eight of the tournament.
Joining Duckworth are Sam Groth, who faces Canadian third seed and world No.8 Milos Raonic, and Bernard Tomic, who beat young gun Thanasi Kokkinakis to set up and quarter-final with world No.5 Kei Nishikori.