NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 3: Roger Federer of Switzerland during day 8 of the 2018 US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium of USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 3, 2018 in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York City. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
US Open 2018 | Federer and Sharapova stunned as the quarter-final line-ups are set
Roger Federer’s ten year wait to regain the US Open title came to an end at the hands of John Millman. A slew of errors from the World No. 2 and typically gritty Aussie determination from Millman made for a thrilling finish under the lights.
Although the first set looked like business as usual, with an early break for Federer, he was made to work for his lead, sealing it on his third set point. Having to deflect no less than seven break points at the start of the second set, there were still no signs of what was to come as Federer broke for the lead in the a few games on.
However, struggling to covert two set points, Millman turned the tide, breaking Federer twice in succession to level the match. A highly competitive third set brought up a single break point for Federer in the first game, and then no break points for either as they headed to a tie-break.
Once again Federer went from an early lead to losing his grip on the tie-break, having one set point, before Millman turned the screw again, taking a 2-1 lead overall. Just a brace of breaks in the middle of the set guided the pair to a fourth set tie-break
And this time there was no momentum swings. Errors racked up for Federer as he lost his serve twice, and Millman saw out his third match point to register a massive win.
Millman said, on court: “I’m probably in a little bit of disbelief. I have so much respect for Roger and everything he’s done for the game. Today he was definitely not at his best but, you know, I’ll take it!”
Millman has come back from injuries and doubts he would ever be able to compete again, while the box-office quarter-final between Federer and Novak Djokovic is postponed… for now.
“I just thought it was very hot tonight. Was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all. I don’t know, for some reason I just struggled in the conditions tonight. It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me.
“Yeah, it’s uncomfortable. Clearly just keep on sweating more and more and more and more as the match goes on. You lose energy as it goes by.
“But John was able to deal with it better. He maybe comes from one of the most humid places on earth, Brisbane. I knew I was in for a tough one. Maybe when you feel like that, as well, you start missing chances, and I had those. That was disappointing.
“But, look, at some point also I was just happy that the match was over, I guess.”
POLL: Who will win the US Open 2018 Men’s Singles Title?
While there were murmurings when the schedule came out with Maria Sharapova had been scheduled for another night match on Arthur Ashe (a 22nd consecutive match, no less) but Carla Suárez Navarro was there to finally turn those lights out. The diminutive Spaniard, who has been quietly working her way through the draw, taking out the No. 6 seed Caroline Garcia in the previous round.
Sharapova was shaky, double faulting three times in one game and even though she battled away, Suárez Navarro was in top form, on her debut under the lights of Arthur Ashe and is now in her second quarter-final in New York.
The Spaniard reeled off three breaks in a row in the first set, although Sharapova clawed back two of them before relinquishing the first set. The second set started with a break each before Suárez Navarro broke Sharapova twice more for the match.
Celebrating her 30th birthday, Suárez Navarro said: “I just was thinking on that match. I just want to win. I mean, was a really good present for me. I was playing also last year same day against Venus Williams, and I lost. This time I don’t want to feel like last year. I want to have a happy birthday, and I have it (smiling).
“I tried to play aggressive, tried to be focus on my game. Sometimes is difficult when you go on this amazing court for the first time. Try to play aggressive, try to be solid sometimes because she hit fast the ball. I have to run and fight.
“But I think I made a really complete match from the beginning until the end. I’m happy with the way I play tonight.”
Sharapova has now exited in the fourth round of the US Open in her last three attempts, and admitted that she had struggled to keep her error count down.
She said: “She played really well. There’s a lot of things she did well. I thought in today’s conditions, her ball was getting up on me a little bit more, much more than my previous three opponents that I played.
“I didn’t take care of the chances that I had. By ‘chances,’ I mean the balls that were a little bit shorter. I hesitated to move forward. The balls where I did attack, I made unforced errors, especially on that inside-out forehand today… It’s just a little too up and down.”
POLL: Who will win the US Open 2018 Wimen’s Singles Title?
The quarter-finals will take place on Arthur Ashe Stadium starting at 12pm (5pm BST).
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