After series of upsets on the Day Five of Australian Open 2020, the Aussie tennis player John Millman was about to pull off another one. However, the 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer made a comeback and won 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) in the third round of the Australian Open and claimed his 100th win in Melbourne.
“Oh god, that was tough. Thank God it’s a super tiebreaker otherwise I would have lost this one. Ah. Where to start? I think John played a great match. He might as well have been here as well making the match- doing the interview. Ah, I can’t even speak anymore! He’s a great fighter, good guy and it came down to the wire at the end,” Federer said in his post-match interview.
“A bit of luck maybe – go one way, I had to stay focused, make the right decision and he was doing all that stuff in the beginning of the breaker. I thought: ‘ok, I guess I tried. I didn’t play too bad after all.’ I was getting ready to explain myself in the press conference. The demons are always there, they’re always lurking. But anyway, what a match, John sure deserves half of this one.”
In the opening set, Millman slammed a backhand down-the-line to take a 3-1 lead and later consolidated to 4-1 with brutal hitting. The Aussie’s player forehands were simply resonating on the Rod Laver Arena, and his confidence in striking each ball gave goosebumps to everyone in the house.
Federer was erratic in the set until 5-3 and found his grooves when he broke back at 5-4. A forehand error from Millman offered Federer three break points. With his trademark backhand down the line passing shot he converted the point in style. However, in the next game, a series of errors and forehand mistakes gifted Millman the opening set.
The two men played a tight set of tennis, with no break points rising. Federer was cautious but was unable to play some tension-free tennis from the baseline. However brilliant tennis in the tiebreak brought excitement amongst the Federer fans. In the tiebreak, Federer seized the mini-break with a forehand down-the-line at 2-1. The attacking tennis continued for the rest of the breaker and a lunge drop volley gave him the second set 7-6(2).
In the third set, both the men were proactive. At 4-3 Federer had a break opportunity but the Aussie erased it by crushing a forehand crosscourt winner. Later with Federer making errors, Millman survived the game at 4-4. However, Federer managed to break his serve and seal the set 6-4.
The fourth witnessed some brutal hitting from Millman’s end. The Swiss legend was unable to overcome that. With Federer missing two forehands at 4-3, the Aussie led by 5-3 in the fourth set. With Federer flawing his returns, Millman consolidated and later pushed the match to the fifth set. Until then, Federer made 60 unforced errors in the match and 41 of them were produced from his forehand.
It was a rollercoaster final set with Millman breaking Federer at for a 2-1. However, forehand winners from Federer aided him to break back at 2-2. A flurry of errors from Federer gave Millman two break points at 3-3, but taking the game to deuce and with a crosscourt backhand winner the Swiss held his serve at 4-3. The battle was getting nervy with Federer holding his serve with an ace at 5-4.
With Millman continuing his with his service holds, Roger Federer was forced to play a fifth set 10-point tie-break on the Rod Laver Arena. It was the first super tiebreak played on Rod Laver Arena. In the tiebreak, Millman led by 2-0 in the beginning and later kept is lead unaffected. Unreal level of tennis was depicted from the Aussie in the tiebreak. He was leading by 8-4 in the tiebreak, but the Swiss maestro came back and managed to pull off the victory with a 10-8 scoreline in the tiebreak.