Federer: I was struggling to breathe during US Open defeat
04 September, 2018, 17:48 | Author: Rafael Roberts
Millman defeated the number two seed 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3) in a gruelling three-and-a-half hour match to reach his first ever quarter final in a Slam. "Maybe when you feel like that, as well, you start missing chances, and I had those", said the Swiss. "I have so much respect for Roger and everything he's done for the game".
"He's been a hero of mine and today he definitely wasn't at his best", Millman said.
"But John was able to deal with it better".
What struck most was Millman's humility in victory.
Federer, like any great champion, refused to throw in the towel and showed emotion for the first time after breaking for a 4-2 lead in the fourth. "Roger had it on a string, he was manipulating me around the court", said Millman.
Millman's 3-6 7-5 7-6 7-6 victory represents a career highlight for the 29-year-old, who is set to rise from World No.55 in the rankings.
Except he didn't. In the NY heat, Federer began to wilt.
But his much-anticipated quarterfinal matchup against his old rival Novak Djokovic - what would have been their 47th meeting, and seventh at the US Open - was foreclosed by the Australian, who will now meet the Serb on Thursday.
"I was thinking one match point, second match point - I hope it's not going to the eighth one", Cilic said.
Federer had cruised through the first set against Millman who was appearing in his maiden last-16 at the majors.
Federer was 4-2 up in the fourth set but was reeled in and two back-to-back double faults sent him 1/4 down in the tiebreak. That was the first time in tournament history that the U.S. Open created an extreme heat policy for men's matches - they can opt for a 10-minute break between the third and fourth sets - similar to what's standard on the women's tour, when there can be a delay between the second and third sets.
He finished with 77 unforced errors and 10 double faults but had a host of chances to take wrap up matters in straight sets, squandering set points in the second and third sets. But for whatever reason, Federer's body couldn't handle the humid and sticky conditions inside Ashe. "I thought John played a great match in hard conditions". "But why not? I think it's a disservice to who I am if I go out there and don't have that belief".
"Maria has played here at night many times so I knew I needed to be aggressive, focused and play solid", said the 30th seeded Spaniard.
The 37-year-old managed to pull off an around-the-net-post forehand victor.
"At the beginning of the career, I probably wasn't seeing things that I'm seeing them now in terms of being in an era with these guys, " Djokovic said.
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He did that after a rock solid season, winning seven titles including all three Masters 1000 titles on clay and three Majors. Rafa saved a break point in game six and a service victor moved hi 5-1 up, forcing Novak to serve to stay in the match.
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