Unseeded Millman sends Federer crashing out of US Open

Wednesday, 2018-09-05 09:09:16
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Roger Federer of Switzerland walks off the court after his loss to John Millman of Australia. (Reuters)
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Roger Federer failed to cope with stifling conditions at the US Open on Monday and suffered a shock 3-6 7-5 7-6(7) 7-6(3) defeat to unseeded Australian John Millman in the last 16.

Second seed Federer, who had not dropped a set in his first three matches, was uncharacteristically sloppy, committing 77 unforced errors and 10 double faults while landing just 49 percent of his first serves.

There was little sign of what was in store for the five-times champion when he took the first set with ease, before world No. 55 Millman turned the tables to win the second then held his nerve through two tiebreaks to secure the victory in three hours and 34 minutes.

While the temperature in New York hovered around 78 Fahrenheit (25C), Federer said high humidity was the problem at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Federer started well, racing through the first set and unsettling Millman by dropping the ball short.

He looked to be cruising as he opened up a 5-3 lead in the second but squandered two set points when serving at 5-4 before making two unforced errors and a double fault that allowed Millman to draw level.

The 29-year-old Australian held serve and suddenly Federer found himself serving to force a tiebreak. He cracked, double faulting again and making two more unforced errors, as Millman roared back to level the match at 1-1.

After being caught out by the drop shot earlier in the match, Millman began to read it better and improved from a single net point won in the first set to 17 from a possible 30 by the end of the match.

Federer, who won five straight titles at Flushing Meadows between 2004 and 2008, continued to struggle with his serve, double faulting twice in a row in the final tiebreak and conceding the match with a forehand error.

Next up for Millman is a quarter-final match-up against Novak Djokovic, and Federer said the sixth seed will have a fight on his hands.

Juan Martin del Potro reached the US Open semi-finals for the third time on Tuesday (Sep 4), defeating John Isner 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 and ending American hopes of a first men's champion at the event since 2003.

Argentine third seed Del Potro, the champion in 2009, goes on to face either world number one and defending champion Rafael Nadal or Austria's Dominic Thiem for a place in the final.

On the women’s side, the six-time champion, Serena Williams, fought back from a break down in the first set to beat Czech eighth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4 6-3 and reach the semi-finals in suffocating conditions.

Anastasija Sevastova ended Sloane Stephens' US Open title defence, toppling the world number three 6-2, 6-3 to reach a first Grand Slam semi-final.

Reuters