John Millman is looking forward to another dream showdown with Roger Federer after winning his second round Australian Open match on Wednesday night.
Often the marathon man drawn into long matches, the popular Australian had a surprisingly straightforward victory over 31st seed Hubert Hurkacz, 6-4 7-5 6-3.
With Federer’s even more comfortable win over Filip Krajinovic, the stage is set for their fourth meeting. But one match will always stand out.
The 30-year-old Queenslander famously beat the Swiss in an emotional, sweat-soaked encounter at the 2018 US Open. “I almost passed out when I played against him in New York,” a wry Federer said, recalling the match after his own win on Wednesday.
Millman’s fourth-round victory at Flushing Meadows propelled him to a best-ever grand slam result and payday, but he knows it will be tough to make it happen again.
“The good news is I’ll go out there and you start out at 0-0,” Millman said.
“What you can expect from me, my coaching team, friends, family, what they can all expect from me is that I’ll go out there and give it a crack. Regardless of the score, at the end of the day I’ll go out there and leave it all out there. If lightning strikes twice, I wouldn’t say no to it.”
Millman enjoyed a one-break advantage in each of the first two sets against Hurkacz on Wednesday night before racing out to a 4-0 lead in the third.
But the Pole, one of the form players on tour, with an Auckland semi-final showing and wins over Borna Coric and Dominic Thiem at the ATP Cup, mounted a last-gasp comeback. He claimed a break back and had two more breakpoints to get the set on serve before Millman lifted again.
Rain stopped play briefly but the world No 47 quickly closed out the match.
“Hubert didn’t give up there,” Millman said. “[His third set comeback] probably aged me a couple of years.”
Meanwhile compatriot Marc Polmans wasn’t able to back up his five-set first-round win, going down to Serbian 24th seed Dusan Lajovic. The 22-year-old Victorian wildcard fell to Lajovic 6-2 6-4 6-3.
Earlier the West Australian wildcard, Astra Sharma, lost her delayed first-round match. Making a belated start to the Open following Monday’s washout and Tuesday’s uncompleted schedule, Sharma went down 6-0 6-2 to Estonian 28th seed Anett Kontaviet.