Roger Federer failed to cope with stifling conditions at the U.S. Open on Sep. 3 and suffered a shock 3-6 7-5 7-6(7) 7-6(3) defeat to unseeded Australian John Millman in the last 16.

Second seed Federer, who had not dropped a set in his first three matches, was uncharacteristically sloppy, committing 77 unforced errors and 10 double faults while landing just 49 percent of his first serves.

There was little sign of what was in store for the five-times champion when he took the first set with ease, before world No. 55 Millman turned the tables to win the second then held his nerve through two tiebreaks to secure the victory in three hours and 34 minutes.

John Millman at Tennis US Open
John Millman of Australia serves to Roger Federer of Switzerland in a round of 16 match on day eight of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sep. 3, 2018. (Danielle Parhizkaran/USA Today Sports/Reuters)

While the temperature in New York hovered around 78 Fahrenheit (25C), Federer said high humidity was the problem at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I just thought it was very hot tonight,” Federer said. “Was just one of those nights where I felt I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all.

Roger Federer hitting tennis ball
Roger Federer of Switzerland returns a shot against John Millman of Australia in a fourth round match on day eight of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory (Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY Sports)

“It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me… John was able to deal with it better. He maybe comes from one of the most humid places on earth, Brisbane.

“Some days it’s just not the day where the body can cope with it.”

Millman, who trained with Federer in Switzerland before the grass-court season, was in shock at having beaten one of his idols.

“I’m probably in a little bit of disbelief,” he said. “I have so much respect for Roger and everything he’s done for the game.

“He’s a hero of mine. Today he was definitely not at his best but I’ll take it.”

John Millman of Australia at Tennis Open
John Millman of Australia celebrates after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in a round of 16 match on day eight of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, on Sep. 3, 2018. (Danielle Parhizkaran/USA Today Sports/Reuters)

Federer started well, racing through the first set and unsettling Millman by dropping the ball short.

He looked to be cruising as he opened up a 5-3 lead in the second but squandered two set points when serving at 5-4 before making two unforced errors and a double fault that allowed Millman to draw level.

The 29-year-old Australian held serve and suddenly Federer found himself serving to force a tiebreak. He cracked, double faulting again and making two more unforced errors, as Millman roared back to level the match at 1-1.

“I felt like a deer in the headlights to begin with, to be honest,” Millman added. “Roger had me on a string. He was manipulating me around the court.

“But I got out of a tough second set, really found my feet and started to be a little bit more aggressive.”

After being caught out by the drop shot earlier in the match, Millman began to read it better and improved from a single net point won in the first set to 17 from a possible 30 by the end of the match.

Roger Federer of Switzerland at US Open
Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts during a changeover in a fourth round match against John Millman of Australia on day eight of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory (Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters)

Federer, who won five straight titles at Flushing Meadows between 2004 and 2008, continued to struggle with his serve, double faulting twice in a row in the final tiebreak and conceding the match with a forehand error.

Next up for Millman is a quarter-final match-up against Novak Djokovic, and Federer said the sixth seed will have a fight on his hands.

“I think (Millman has) got a great backhand… When you attack there in the wrong way, he will punish you every time for it,” said the Swiss.

“I think against Novak, he just has to bring it again, try to worry Novak, hope for another hot day maybe.”

By Simon Jennings

Share

Video Popular

  • Celebrating Arbor Day With Books

    Celebrating Arbor Day With Books

    Trees were once considered sacred and awe-inspiring: Oaks were worshiped by the European Druids, redwoods were a part of American Indian ritual, and baobabs a part of African tribal life. Ancient Chin ...

  • Sharks Eat Their Greens, Too—First Omnivorous Species Confirmed

    Sharks Eat Their Greens, Too—First Omnivorous Species Confirmed

    Not all sharks feed only on meat—at least one shark species also feeds on seagrass. Scientists have confirmed that one of the most common sharks in the world is an omnivore. The bonnethead shark, a re ...

  • Microsoft Flags Dangers to EU of Plans to Limit Data Use

    Microsoft Flags Dangers to EU of Plans to Limit Data Use

    Microsoft said on Sept. 5, that EU lawmakers’ copyright reforms limiting the use of potentially valuable data to non-profit bodies could damage the European Union’s digital development. Co ...

  • How Setting a Schedule Can Make You Less Productive

    How Setting a Schedule Can Make You Less Productive

    It can seem like there’s never enough time—not enough for sleep and not enough for play, not enough for cooking. and not enough for exercise. There’s a relatively new term to describe this feeling: ti ...

  • RiNo, Denver: America’s Best Place for a Bar Crawl?

    RiNo, Denver: America’s Best Place for a Bar Crawl?

    “RiNo reminds me of Williamsburg in 2004—just pretentious enough to be good, not yet pretentious enough to be annoying.” Kevin Burke is joking, of course. As the general manager of American Bonded—one ...

  • Respecting Teachers and Cherishing Virtue

    Respecting Teachers and Cherishing Virtue

    Respecting teachers and cherishing virtues are part of the traditional ethics practiced by the Chinese people. Teachers, who impart morality, knowledge, and values, teach people the proper ways to int ...

  • Home Ownership in Canada Declines, Reversing Long Upward Trend

    Home Ownership in Canada Declines, Reversing Long Upward Trend

    Home ownership in Canada fell for the first time in over 45 years, according to a Point2Homes study released this week. It had reached a record high of 69 percent in 2011, but as of 2016, it fell to 6 ...

  • Aretha Franklin Dresses, Hats to Go up for Auction

    Aretha Franklin Dresses, Hats to Go up for Auction

    NEW YORK—More than 30 dresses and accessories worn on stage by Aretha Franklin are going up for auction. The Queen of Soul died at age 76 in Detroit on Aug. 16. Julien’s Auctions says the items ...

  • 87 Elephants Found Slaughtered in Botswana, Africa

    87 Elephants Found Slaughtered in Botswana, Africa

    An alarming number of elephant carcasses have been discovered in aerial surveys across Botswana in what has been described as a “poaching frenzy.” Botswana was once known as a sanctuary fo ...

  • Yes, Marijuana Can Be Addictive

    Yes, Marijuana Can Be Addictive

    The business world is salivating at the potential $22.6 billion recreational marijuana market in Canada, with more new pot users expected after legalization on Oct. 17. But public-health officials wan ...

  • Google Races to Parry the Rise of Facebook in India

    Google Races to Parry the Rise of Facebook in India

    Google retains only a slight lead over Facebook in the competition for digital ad dollars in the crucial India market, sources familiar with the figures say, even though the search giant has been in t ...

  • Canada in Brief, Sept. 6-12

    Canada in Brief, Sept. 6-12

    Trudeau says he won’t use ‘tricks’ to ram through pipeline construction Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pouring cold water on Alberta’s suggestion that the federal government use legislation or a cou ...