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Federer survives huge scare to reach last 16 on freaky Friday

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 25 January 2020 00:02

Switzerland's Roger Federer in action during his match against Australia's John Millman - Reuters


MELBOURNE (Reuters): Roger Federer looked defeat full in the face before rallying in the 10-point tiebreaker to edge local battler John Millman in a five-set thriller on Friday night and reach the last 16 of the Australian Open.

It was Federer’s 100th victory at Melbourne Park and few of them can have been as hard as the four-hour, 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4 4-6 7-6(8) epic he shared with the teak tough world number 47 on Rod Laver Arena.

The 20-times Grand Slam champion made an extraordinary 82 unforced errors to go with 62 winners in a contest that was decided by the extended tiebreak introduced to prevent even longer contests.

Even that was not straightforward for Federer.

The apparently indefatigable Millman held leads of 5-2 and 8-4 on the back of some brilliant tennis, forcing 38-year-old Federer to rattle off five straight points before securing the victory with a crosscourt forehand winner.

Defeat would have meant Federer’s earliest exit from a Grand Slam for five years but he would not have been alone as a big name departing after an upset on Friday.

The last three women’s champions – Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams – all went out along with Greek young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas as a rather predictable tournament suddenly exploded into life.


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