Melbourne: Roger Federer survived a massive scare against Aussie John Millman in the third round of Australian Open on Friday in an absorbing five-set thriller at the Rod Laver Arena. Millman performed at the highest of his abilities and was at an untouchable state for most part of the final set but Federer sneaked past him in front of a partisan crowd that cheered the Swiss and Millman in equal.
Millman produced a stunning show but Federer outlasted him 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(8) in four hours and three minutes in a match that swung like a pendulum throughout.
Federer was surely not at his best while Millman targetted the Swiss on his forehand throughout the match. With the pressure from Millman, Federer made 82 number of unforced errors but still managed to somehow get a massive victory.
He will now take on unseeded Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, who eased past American Tommy Paul in straight sets, for a place in the last eight.
In the final set tiebreak, Millman started brilliantly and was unplayable until he made a couple of errors to let Federer back into the game. From there, the Swiss went to the attack and started finding the lines. With his depth and top spin, Millman gave in to the pressure. With one match point, Millman sent the ball wide and Federer threw his hands up in the air to celebrate his 100th win in Melbourne.
"A bit of luck may be went my way. I had to stay focussed and the way he was playing in the tiebreak early, I was preparing to explain myself in the press conference.
"I had to figure out a way to get him in trouble on his serve. He was doing a great job, I was struggling on both forehand and backhand. I had to keep going. I never felt comfortable, John did a great job," Federer said in the on-court interview after the match.
Asked about the split crowd, which is usually all his, Federer said, "I won't take it personally, he (Millman) deserves all the support. They've given me more than you needed to. If they cheer on my opponent, it's all good, not personal."