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Tennis • Millman Continues Australian Open Success, But None Other Than Federer Awaits

By Ricky Dimon

John Millman kept his Australian Open run going on Wednesday. But how much longer will it go.

Millman, who knocked off Auckland champion Ugo Humbert in the opening round, came back out one day later and upset one of the hottest players on tour in Hubert Hurkacz. The Aussie treated his home crowd to a 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 upset of Hurkacz in Melbourne Arena to book a spot in the last 32.

And who awaits Millman there on Friday? That would be none other than Roger Federer. Yes, the same Roger Federer whom Millman stunned in round four of the 2018 U.S. Open.

“The way I see it is, you take a few snapshots, you have a few of those memorable moments that hopefully when you finish playing tennis you can think back and think that was pretty cool,” the 30-year-old noted. “That was one of those moments. That was one of those really special nights at Arthur Ashe, packed crowd there. I played some really, really great tennis. He probably didn’t play his best tennis. I managed to do something that not many people thought I could do. It was an awesome experience.

But I do know that that doesn’t really count for anything now. It’s probably the toughest test in tennis to [play] Roger Federer.”

And how will Federer feel facing Millman again?

“I wouldn’t know personally,” said the world No. 47. “But I feel as if Roger, one of his best qualities is the fact that he moves on pretty quickly. I think he did that. I think he moved on pretty quickly from that and he put together a pretty good kind of 12 months after.

I’m sure he’ll be confident in himself. He’s got every reason to be super, super confident in himself. He’s won umpteen Grand Slams and all that. Look, I think he’ll treat it as another match obviously. Probably even he’ll be that much more determined to kind of nip me in the bud.”

Federer, who leads the head-to-head series 2-1, earned another shot at Millman by erasing Filip Krajinovic 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday night. The 38-year-old Swiss gave back a break midway through the second set but broke right back and at that point was permanently off to the races. He finished with 14 aces and no double-faults while compiling 42 winners to just 14 unforced errors.

“When I do play well against [Krajinovic], I can control things pretty well,” Federer explained. “I feel if I play tactically well, and I’m very strict on how I need to play, this can happen.

I think the next match is really going to be a test for me because John is going to be there. He’s fit like a fiddle. I’ve lost to him in the past in a best-of-five set match. I almost lost to him in Brisbane, as well, the first time I played against him. He’s from this country, so naturally also it’s going to be different intensity. I think this is going to be a good test for me.”

It could be an even better test for Millman.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


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