New York, USA, 21 August 2020 | Leigh Rogers

Australian fans have long appreciated John Millman’s spirited efforts – and the rest of the world took notice too when he defeated world No.2 Roger Federer at the US Open in 2018.

The No.55-ranked Millman was making his maiden Grand Slam fourth round appearance. His opponent was the world No.2 and a five-time champion in New York. It was a 17th fourth round appearance for Federer at the tournament – and he had never previously lost of a player ranked outside the top 50 in New York.

On paper, it looked like a complete mismatch. Still, Millman entered the match with self-belief.

“I always was of the opinion that I was in the fourth round for a reason,” said Millman, who had defeated world No.14 Fabio Fognini in the second round.

“I’ve never played anyone’s reputation. That’s been a constant with me for, you know, ever since I played the game. Because I think if you do that, then you start behind the eight ball straightaway.”

Federer started strongly, taking the opening set and serving for the second. But Millman saved two set points and reeled off three consecutive games to level the match.

The 29-year-old Australian admitted he had some initial nerves in the Arthur Ashe Stadium night match.

“It was a slightly intimidating environment,” Millman related of his first match on the tournament’s premier court.

“I was deer in the headlights a little bit. But as the match went on, I felt very comfortable.”

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Millman demonstrated his perseverance, a quality that has helped him recover from multiple career-threatening injury setbacks. He saved another set point in a third-set tiebreak, as his relentless rallying wore down Federer in stifling humid conditions.

An inspired Millman posted a 3-6 7-5 7-6(7) 7-6(3) victory in three hours and 35 minutes. The match finished at almost 1am local time and marked Millman’s first career top-10 win.

“I’ll obviously remember this for a long, long time,” Millman said after the match.

“I have so much respect for Roger and everything he’s done for the game. He’s been a hero of mine.

“Obviously it’s probably a bit of a shock to a lot of people. But, you know, that’s a great thing about tennis, that is the great thing about sport. There’s always upsets that can happen.”

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