Roger Federer admits he was relieved when match was over against John Millman

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Out of the US Open: Roger Federer.

Roger Federer said he was relieved the match was over after struggling in humid conditions and falling to one of his most surprising losses against John Millman at the US Open.

Australian Millman had been given barely a sniff before the match, with excitement already building for a quarter-final clash between Federer and Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows.

The 29-year-old, who had never previously beaten a top-10 opponent, appeared to have even less chance of winning with Federer a set and a break up and holding two set points, but he somehow clawed his way back to clinch a 3-6 7-5 7-6 (8/6) 7-6 (7/3) victory.

While Millman, ranked 55, produced the performance of his life, Federer gave one of his poorest displays on the big stage, struggling with all parts of his game and making 76 unforced errors.

The match did not finish until nearly 1am but the temperature was still around 30C with extremely high humidity.

Federer, perhaps looking and sounding his age, said: “I just thought it was very hot tonight. It was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all. For some reason I just struggled in the conditions. It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me.

“It’s uncomfortable. Clearly you 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.

“When you feel like that, everything is off. But I’ve trained in tougher conditions. I’ve played in the daytime at 120(F). Some days it’s just not the day where the body can cope with it.

“I do believe since the roof is on that there is no air circulation in the stadium. I think just that makes it a totally different US Open.

“I wish I could have led two sets to love and then maybe the match would be different and I would find a way. It was just tough. I thought John played a great match in difficult conditions.

“I’m happy I’m getting a rest now. Then I come back for the Laver Cup and hopefully finish the year strong.”

Millman is having the best year of his career having struggled with several injuries over the years, most seriously a shoulder problem in 2013. He spent part of the lay-off working for a friend’s finance company and wondering whether his tennis career was over.

Speaking on court, he said: “I’m probably in a bit of disbelief. I have so much respect for Roger and everything he’s done for the game, and he’s been a hero of mine. Today he was definitely not at his best, but I’ll take it.”

Millman joked the only time he expected to be playing on Ashe was a pre-tournament practice session with Andy Murray, but he is determined not to enjoy the achievement too much.

He said: “I’ll obviously remember this for a long, long time. I hope the people who are watching here and back home remember it, too. It’s extremely special. But hopefully I haven’t got a bullet in me yet, I can create a few more moments in my career.”

Earlier, Djokovic also struggled with the heat for the second time this tournament but came through a 6-3 6-4 6-3 victory over Joao Sousa relatively comfortably.

The other quarter-final in the bottom half of the draw will be a rematch of the 2014 final between Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori.

Nishikori defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-2 7-5 while Cilic was a 7-6 (8/6) 6-2 6-4 winner against David Goffin.

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Australian John Millman shocks Roger Federer to reach US Open quarter-finals

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John Millman will play Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

Unheralded Australian John Millman pulled off one of the all-time great tennis shocks by defeating Roger Federer to reach the US Open quarter-finals.

Millman had been given barely a sniff before the match, with excitement already building for a last-eight clash between Federer and Djokovic.

The 29-year-old, who had never previously beaten a top-10 opponent, appeared to have even less chance of winning with Federer a set and a break up and holding two set points, but he somehow clawed his way back to clinch a 3-6 7-5 7-6 (8/6) 7-6 (7/3) victory.

While Millman produced the performance of his life, Federer gave one of his poorest performances on the big stage, struggling with all parts of his game and making 76 unforced errors.

It was the 37-year-old’s earliest loss at a slam since the Australian Open in 2015 and the first time he has ever lost to a player ranked outside the top 50 in New York.

Federer had struggled with his timing in the early stages of his previous match against Nick Kyrgios before clicking into gear, but against Millman he just could not find his game.

His serve, in particular, was way off during the first two sets. In the second game of the second set he faced seven break points and landed only four of 22 first serves but still held.

And at a set and 5-4 up with two set points on his own serve, it seemed this would simply be a case of Federer grinding out a relatively straightforward victory.

Switzerland's Roger Federer waves as he walks off court after losing his 2018 US Open Men's Singles tennis match against Australia's John Millman at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 3, 2018. - Five-time champion Roger Federer crashed out of the US Open fourth round, beaten in four sets by 55th-ranked Australian John Millman. (Photo by EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Roger Federer exits the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

But the two set points came and went and a double fault gave Millman the break back. Two games later, Federer was facing set point against him, and he blazed a backhand long.

Federer, renowned as the man who never sweats, was perspiring heavily and it was not entirely down to the extreme humidity.

Millman, ranked 55, could not be less like his compatriot Kyrgios. A universally popular player who has built a successful career, despite several serious injury setbacks, on never giving an inch.

And, as Federer continued to struggle, the Australian’s confidence grew. Had the 20-time grand slam champion’s serve not improved, he might have lost the third set before the tie-break.

Millman cursed himself for missing one set point but threw everything into a series of forehands to bring up a second and forced Federer into another error.

The crowd on Arthur Ashe, who were overwhelmingly behind the Swiss, could not believe what they were seeing.

Federer had so little confidence in his groundstrokes he was playing drop shots nearly every point, with mixed success. A chink of light arrived with a break for 4-2 only for more mistakes to hand it straight back.

Successive double faults put him firmly on the back foot in the tie-break and there was no way back.

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Watch: Amazing round the net shot by Federer against Kyrgios

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Sublime: Roger Federer.

Roger Federer stole the show to put Nick Kyrgios in his place at the US Open.

The pair met in the third round in the most highly-anticipated men’s match of the tournament so far, but it proved to be style over substance as Federer raced to a 6-4 6-1 7-5 victory inside two hours.

There was still plenty to keep the Arthur Ashe crowd entertained, especially the forehand that Federer played around the net post in the seventh game of the third set that left Kyrgios open-mouthed in disbelief.

The Australian said: “It was almost unreal. It almost got to the point where I wanted him to start making shots like that, and I finally got it. If anyone else is doing those shots against me, I’m probably not too happy. But it’s Roger.”

Two days after the controversy over his pep talk from umpire Mohamed Lahyani during a second-round win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Kyrgios had hoped his tennis could write the headlines.

But a missed chance in the opening set, when he had Federer at 0-40 in the seventh game, proved the turning point. From 4-4, the second seed won seven games in a row and, although the third set was more competitive, Federer always looked in control.

Kyrgios ranted at his box after losing the first set, which he attributed to pressure.

“I got to the business end of the first set, crucial moment,” he said. “I played a terrible service game, didn’t make any first serves. It was tough. I knew how important that first set was.

“He loosened up straightaway after that. All the pressure was off him. He’s an unbelievable front-runner. When he gets in front, there’s not much you can do. He was way too good. Obviously I was not at my best, but that’s how he makes you play. He makes the court feel really small at times.”

Kyrgios certainly had a better attitude on court than against Herbert, and he can normally be relied upon to keep his focus against the big names, but he remains a hugely frustrating player who frequently favours the spectacular over the reliable.

Federer said: “You feel like you have to be the consistent guy rather than the flashy guy, just because he has a tendency to throw in the odd shot that you just don’t normally see on the tour.

“Other guys play the shot you’re supposed to hit and then, if you get beat, you’re like, ‘Maybe I should have hit Nick’s shot?’. Nick goes the other way around. He hits that shot but then, if he doesn’t win that point, maybe he tells himself, ‘Well, maybe I should have hit a normal shot’.

“Today I think he didn’t come up with the goods when he really had to, and I was good, by making him hit that extra shot.”

Imitation has become a Kyrgios staple and, after sprinting out for the warm-up like Rafael Nadal, the Australian pulled out a Federer serve in the fourth game.

The Swiss, who next plays a rather different Australian character in John Millman, did not take offence, saying: “We have all imitated serves. Sure, it’s unusual to happen against you with your own serve.

“I knew right away, and I have seen him doing it several times over the last few months. Also that he’s been using my serve sometimes to great effect, which I’m very happy to see. It’s good fun.”

Kyrgios still does not have a coach, although he has been working with a physical trainer, and he appears open to the idea of speaking to a psychologist as he seeks the path that could see him fulfil his talent.

He said: “I have been around for about four years now. I have barely done anything. I think I can do a lot more. It’s all mental with me. If I want it enough, I have a coaching option, psychology option. I think there is a lot more things to explore. Obviously I want to achieve more in the sport.”

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