A shock on Arthur Ashe as John Millman pulled off the biggest win of his career defeating Roger 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(7), 7-6(3) in the fourth round.
The World No. 55 came into the tournament with little form to speak of having lost first round in Winston Salem, but he played solidly throughout, rarely missing from the baseline to bag his first ever win against Top 10 opposition and set up a maiden Grand Slam Quarter Final with Novak Djokovic.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to serve. He was under pressure immediately having to save breakpoint but he held and strung together a string of solid baseline points to break for 2-0.
A hold to 15 consolidated the break, and at 4-1 the Swiss had a look at the double break. Millman held, but the one break proved enough as Roger took the opener 6-3 to get off to a good start.
Into set two and serving at 0-1 Roger came through a marathon game where his first serve went AWOL. He landed only 6 of 24 in the game, and at one point had only made 2 of 20 first serves. However, he saved all seven break points to hold and that looked like it would be a pivotal game in the match. Millman had to save two break points of his own in game three but in game five Roger broke through with some crisp ball striking.
The break was consolidated for 4-2, and at 5-4 40/15 it looked like set two was virtually in the bag; instead, a double fault gave Millman break point which he converted en route to winning four games in a row to snatch the set 7-5.
Both players left the court at the end of the set, and upon resumption, Millman saved a break point in the opening game. That was the only look either player would have on the return, and the set resulted in a tie-break.
The tie-break saw Roger move up an early mini-break for 3-1, but a horrible volley miss where he didn't close the net handed it straight back for 3-3. The first set point came Roger's way at 6-5, but Millman put in strong second serve to save it. Roger then had to save set point of his own aided by a bit of frame to level at 7-7 but Millman ramped up his groundstrokes to snatch a crucial mini-break for 8-7, and he took the set 9-7.
Dripping with sweat Roger again left the court for an outfit change and in game one of set four, he played four drop shots in a refusal to rally en route to holding for 1-0. Millman levelled, but after trading holds in game six, Roger broke to lead 4-2. In trying to consolidate Fed slipped to 0-30 but showed the first bit of urgency in a while to hold game point at 40-30, but he again slipped up, missing a makeable smash and Millman broke back.
At five all Roger again slipped to 0-30 but somehow found four first serves in a row to hold for 6-5. Millman then recovered from 0-15 and 30-30 to hold and force a tie-break.
Into the breaker and Roger would have been up a mini-break but a poor forehand miss let Millman off the hook as the Aussie moved into a 2-1 lead. Then came two of the most untimely double faults you will see from Roger as he dropped to 1-4. Those were the nail in his coffin as although he was able to save two match points on his next serves to make 3-6, Millman sealed it on his own at the first time of asking to record the upset.
|J. Millman||R. Federer|
|First Serve % In||91/143 (64%)||84/173 (49%)|
|Win % On 1st Serve||68/91 (75%)||68/84 (81%)|
|Win % On 2nd Serve||31/52 (60%)||42/89 (47%)|
|Net Points Won||17/30 (57%)||50/81 (62%)|
|Break Points Won||3/11 (27%)||3/11 (27%)|
|Receiving Points Won||63/173 (36%)||44/143 (31%)|
|Total Points Won||162||154|
|Distance Covered||12167.8 Ft||10926.7 Ft|
|Distance Covered/pt.||38.5 Ft||34.6 Ft|
Thoughts on the Match
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.
But, look, at some point also I was just happy that the match was over, I guess.
A big upset here and one I didn't see coming. Federer had been 40-0 at the US Open against players ranked outside the Top 50 and with Millman, a quintessential grinder at 55 in the world with no real weapons it looked like a hard fought, but straight sets victory would be on the cards.
That prediction looked to be coming true right up until Roger served for a two-set lead but he dropped serve from 40-15 and Millman got right back into the match. He's certainly a guy who needs no second invitations as he's capable of running all day and forcing his opponents to make one more ball time and time again.
From there Roger looked hot, bothered and not up for the fight. It was Low Energy Roger Federer who didn't have the answers out there; he couldn't break through Millman with aggression from the baseline as the surface is too slow and he didn't have the energy or solidity to grind it out as Millman was the better player from the baseline. 76 unforced errors show Roger was always the first to miss. Couple that with only landing 49% of first serves and it's an uphill battle.
As a result, it was a mishmash of drop shots, weird shot choices and just generally untidy play. Plenty of nice points as is always the case with his game style but in terms of putting it together point by point and game by game it just didn't happen for him. Too many rudimentary mistakes, one that sticks in my mind is the volley in the third set tie-break to put himself up 4-2, a basic net close but he stops moving forward and dumps it into the net. Clearly not thinking straight and that pretty much sums up the night.
How big a factor were the conditions?
As you can see from Roger's quote above he says the heat/humidity did for him on the night. It's very rare you see him affected by stuff like that but it's certainly the most I've ever seen him sweat.
There's no doubt it was uncomfortable in the stadium and @Rfighterer who watched courtside pointed out the problem very early in the match via Twitter.
I guess some will say that's an excuse as it's the same for both players and Djokovic had to deal with it in the day session which is fair enough but from scanning Twitter it sounds as though even just being there sat watching was uncomfortable.
For me, the loss is a combination of conditions on the night, patchy form in recent weeks and slower conditions not giving him any free points. So it just gets chalked up as one of those things. The performance is forgivable as it just didn't happen but the one thing I don't like is after all his recent losses Fed keeps saying he's “looking forward to a rest now” when he's barely played and you have to say he's looked a little less up for the fight in his matches recently that have gotten close. Any time there has been some stiff resistance then I kinda got the feeling Fed has given up the ghost. We need 1-3 fifth set AO 2017 Federer back sharpish.
What are your thoughts on the match? Let me know in the comments.