Roger Federer qualified for the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday with great pain and effort. Earlier in the day, defending champion Novak Djokovic became a lot more convincing in the last sixteen.
The 38-year-old Federer needed 4 hours and 7 minutes and a decisive supertie break in the fifth set to get rid of Australian John Millman, number 47 in the world: 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 4 -6, 6-6 (8). In the fourth round he meets Márton Fucsovics, the Hungarian with whom he also settled in 2018 in the last sixteen (3-0).
Federer did not falter and convince Millman for a moment. The Swiss lost the first set to the home player due to no fewer than fourteen unnecessary errors. It was Federer's first set loss at this tournament in Melbourne.
At the end of the second set, the twenty-time Grand Slam winner showed recovery. Federer won the decisive tiebreak with simple figures (7-2), after which he also took the third set relatively routinely (6-4).
Roger Federer is disappointed after a miss in the third round against John Millman. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Millman did not bow his head and even dragged a fifth set against Federer, in which he even took a break. The Swiss, who dealt with unnecessary mistakes, immediately broke back, but had to go deep to win over his own service. Millman even dragged out a supertie break.
In the race to ten points, Millman took a 0-3 lead, after which Federer reduced the margin to one. Yet the Australian ran out to 2-5 and 4-8, but the Swiss rose with a knife to the throat and won 10-8.
The third placed Federer hunts for his seventh Australian Open title, after winning in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017 and 2018. Last year the Swiss was eliminated in the fourth round and that was one of his worst results ever at the first Grand Slam tournament this year.
Novak Djokovic hits the ball full of concentration with his backhand against Yoshihito Nishioka. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Djokovic in Japanese in one and a half hour
Nishioka Nishioka, as number 71 in the world, was unable to make it difficult for Djokovic. Within an hour and a half the game was over: 6-3, 6-2 and 6-2.
As number two in the world, Djokovic is already hunting his eighth Australian Open title. He was the best on the hard court in Melbourne in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2019.
In the eighth finals, Diego Schwartzman, the number fourteen on the placement list, faces a bigger challenge. The Argentinian survived the third round by beating the Serbian Dusan Lajovic: 6-2, 6-3 and 7-6 (7).
For Roberto Bautista Agut, the number nine on the placement list, the tournament is over. The Spaniard had to bow to Marin Cilic in five sets: 7-6 (3), 4-6, 0-6, 7-5 and 3-6.
Stéfanos Tsitsipás was also surprisingly eliminated. The Greek, the number six in the world, did not know what to do with service gun Milos Raonic. He lost in three sets: 5-7, 4-6, 5-7 (2).
Stéfanos Tsitsipás shouts out after his elimination against Milos Raonic. (Photo: Pro Shots)