New York: The possibility of a mouth-watering quarterfinal between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at the US Open was scuppered by Australian John Millman here, Monday. It was a day to forget for the Swiss as he lost in four sets in their fourth round encounter. Millman won 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(9-7), 7-6(7-3).
Federer had set points in both the second and third sets, but troubles with his serve infected his entire game and 77 unforced errors doomed the 20-time Grand Slam champion in the face of a determined attack from Millman.
“I’m probably in a little bit of disbelief,” Millman, 29, said after three hours and 35 minutes in the cauldron of Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I just thought it was very hot tonight,” Federer said after his fourth round defeat. “It was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all. I don’t know, for some reason I just struggled in the conditions tonight. It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me,” said the 37-year-old Swiss.
Djokovic, however, had no such problems with the heat as he demolished unseeded Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
“Very happy to get this one done in straight sets,” said Djokovic, who left the court for a lengthy toilet break after the second set and departed again for evaluation during a medical timeout early in the third before returning to wrap things up in exactly two hours. “It was much more difficult than the scores indicate,” Djokovic said.
Kei Nishikori, runner-up in 2014, was also pleased to get through in three sets in blazing sunshine on Louis Armstrong Stadium. After racing through the first two sets against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber he dropped his serve while serving for the match at 5-4 in the third, but managed to prevail 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.
“Man, really lucky to finish in three sets,” Nishikori said. “It was very hot on the court even though it doesn’t look too hot, it’s hit me.”
Nishikori will fight for a semifinal berth against Croatian Marin Cilic. The seventh-seeded Cilic survived some tense moments to get past 10th-ranked Belgian David Goffin 7-6(8-6), 6-2, 6-4.
Goffin served for the first set at 5-4 before Cilic went on to win the tie-breaker. From there things got easier for the Croat.
Cilic who needed three match points to close out the tie said he was tense. “On my third match point I was muttering ‘please don’t take it to the eighth’, I was so nervous,” he said.