Melbourne, Australia, 16 January 2023 | Darren Parkin

Millmania is alive and well at Australian Open 2023, with John Millman marching into the second round following a five-set epic against Switzerland’s Marc-Andrea Huesler.

After a grinding first three sets, the world No.148 dominated to win 12 of the last 17 games in an impressive 6-7(8) 7-5 6-7(2) 6-2 6-3 display from the 33-year-old Australian.

Millman was playing his 12th five-set match at Grand Slam level, and his sixth at the Australian Open. Coming into this match, he’d lost his previous seven five-setters stretching back to Wimbledon 2016.

“It’s awesome. I’ve had some amazing moments on Court 3 and this is another of them,” Millman said.

“The crowd were incredible, it’s obviously quite an intimate atmosphere and in those difficult matches you can’t emphasise how big an influence they have.”

The first set stretched nearly an hour, with only 12 points won against the serve throughout, as both players settled into a groove.

In the tiebreak, it was Huesler who reduced his unforced error count to overturn a 2-5 deficit on the way to taking the opening set.

The second set progressed a similar way, with Millman producing his first break point of the match at 5-all. He would convert that chance before holding serve comfortably to level the match at a set apiece.

Huesler broke early in the third and looked to be taking control but, in trademark fashion, Millman responded.

It was a record day one crowd at Melbourne Park and the grounds would hardly have heard a bigger roar than when Millman converted break point to get back on serve in the third set at 5-all.

When the Australian produced a magnificent lob at 5-6 30-30, the foundations of Court 3 began to shake.

As the third set went to a tiebreak, Huesler was able to hold his nerve with clutch serving and big forehands sweeping him to a two-sets-to-one lead.

The match had been an arm wrestle up to that point, but it turned significantly in the fourth with Millman seizing control to break serve twice (from five break point chances created), striking 14 winners on the way to a 34-minute 6-2 set.

As world No.51 Huesler began to tire, his first serve percentage dropped to 47 per cent, in the fifth as Millman kept the foot down to run away with victory in the four-hour battle.

Millman generated only one break point chance in the first three sets but had 10 across sets four and five as Huesler’s winners dried up, with just 11 in sets four and five after 55 in the first three.

World No.51 Huesler won a maiden ATP title in Sofia last year, defeating the likes of Holger Rune, but has now lost three straight five-set matches in the opening round of Grand Slams.

Millman was playing his 50th match at Grand Slam-level and appearing in a ninth Australian Open main draw.

“They are the ones you remember. The ones where you leave everything out there. I had a lot of people come down from Brisbane to watch. These are the ones that will be special long after I finish playing,” he added.

“It’s as memorable as any match I’ve ever played.”

The Queenslander is now set to take on US Open 2021 champion Daniil Medvedev in the second round and is ready for the challenge.

“I got confidence out of playing four matches in a row in Adelaide. The body is as good as it has been in 12 months. And to stand up in a match like that is really pleasing,” he said.

“That gives me even more confidence going forward.”

Earlier today, Jason Kubler recorded his first Australian Open main-draw victory. The Aussie wildcard posted a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win against world No.44 Sebastian Baez of Argentina.

> READ: Kubler scores first Australian Open win

AUSSIES IN ACTION – Australian Open

Men’s singles, first round
[WC] John Millman (AUS) d Marc-Andrea Huesler (SUI) 6-7(8) 7-5 6-7(2) 6-2 6-3
[WC] Jason Kubler (AUS) d Sebastian Baez (ARG) 6-4 6-4 6-4
[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) d [Q] Yannick Hanfmann (GER) 4-6 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) 6-3

> READ: Hijikata stages incredible comeback victory

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS) d [Q] Polina Kudermetova 7-5 6-1
Wang Xinyu (CHN) d [WC] Storm Hunter (AUS) 7-6(2) 6-4
[Q] Clara Burel (FRA) d [WC] Talia Gibson (AUS) 6-3 6-4

> READ: Gadecki makes dream Australian Open debut

Men’s singles, first round
[22] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Yu Hsiou Hsu (TPE)
Chris O’Connell (AUS) v Jenson Brooksby (USA)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v J.J. Wolf (USA)
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)
[Q] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v [Q] Brandon Holt (USA)
[Q] Max Purcell (AUS) v Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN)
[WC] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v Chun-Hsin Tseng (TPE)

Men’s singles, second round
[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v [3] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
[WC] Jason Kubler (AUS)
 v [18] Karen Khachanov
[WC] John Millman (AUS) v [7] Daniil Medvedev

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) v Linda Fruhvirtova (CZE)
[WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) v [31] Kaia Kanepi (EST)

Women’s singles, second round
[WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS) v Marta Kostyuk (UKR)

> READ: Australian Open doubles draws revealed

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