Djokovic bossed the opening exchanges, yet Millman was soon reprising his heroics of two nights earlier and making life increasingly hard for his illustrious rival.
Rather than listening to a player or manager trotting out excuses, you are hearing the genuine concerns of a competitor over a proper issue that needs fixing and demands to be dealt with.
He actually made more unforced errors (53) than Millman, but still never looked like losing.
Novak Djokovic avoided suffering the same fate as Roger Federer as he overcame the never-say-die John Millman to reach the semi-finals of the Us Open.
The 29-year-old’s rankings rise from No.55 to No.37 will see him become a guaranteed direct entry for the year’s remaining Tennis Masters Series without need to qualify.
Rousing the crowd at every opportunity, the gutsy Australian clearly relished another evening in the spotlight at Flushing Meadows following his remarkable defeat of Federer and endeared himself to the spectators with a passionate showing in his first slam quarter-final.
And as against Federer, that was enough to lose the first set after Djokovic benefited from a lucky net chord and then fought off a break point in the final game to serve the set out.
“I watched the second part of the match and Roger was not playing well”. “He makes you miss balls and makes you earn the point”, the Serb said. He was missing a lot. Credit to John for putting up a great battle. Just an all-around player.
One player who wasn’t sure what the fuss was all about was 20th-seeded Naomi Osaka, who represents Japan and trains in Florida. I definitely left it all out there today.
The No. 7 seed faces No. 21 Kei Nishikori on Wednesday, four years after beating the Japanese player for his first Grand Slam title.
The Swiss then reached the semis in 2014 and final in 2015 but was beaten by Marin Cilic and Novak Djokovic respectively.
Osaka celebrated her win calmly and coolly unlike the floods of tears which greeted her last-16 victory over Aryna Sabalenka.
A bigger piece of history awaits, however, if he can go all the way in NY – a 14th Grand Slam victory would rank him alongside Sampras, and behind only Federer and Nadal in major triumphs.
After four games of the second set, the Australian approached the umpire to request an outfit change due to excessive sweating, which he said was making the court slippery and unsafe. I always play good here. “It’s been pretty hot here, and it can be – I don’t think, whatever the humidity is on the outer courts or in the city, I think it’s amplified on centre court”.
“You want to go into these slams fighting fit and I didn’t feel like I was, but it’s amusing when you lower your expectations and just enjoy the moment, and enjoy the experience, good things happen”. I’m happy to come back, make semis. “So I hope I can keep going”.