Former world number one Roger Federer won the battle of nerves against John Millman to avoid the biggest upset of the tournament on Friday. Federer was once again pushed to the brink by the local boy Millman but the Swiss dug deep to eke out a win 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(8).
In a match that included two tie-breakers, Federer prevailed at the Rod Laver Arena to register his 100th win at the opening slam of the season (Australian Open). From 4-8 deficit in the final set tiebreak, the 38-year-old Federer produced the smash-and-grab of the year, winning six points in a row to advance into the fourth round.
The 20-time Grand Slam champ will now face Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in the fourth round.
“Oh God, it was tough. Thank God it was a super-tiebreaker, otherwise, I would have lost this one,” a relieved Federer told Jim Courier after the four-hour epic in Melbourne.
“John played a great match, he might as well have been out here [in the post-match interview] as well. He’s a great fighter, a good guy and it came down to the wire.”
In the other men’s draw matches, reigning champion Novak Djokovic thrashed Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the round of 16.
But it was curtains for sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas who suffered an upset 5-7, 4-6, 6-7 (2) as he went down in straight sets to Canada’s Milos Raonic, the world number 35.
Former US Open champion Marin Cilic, 31, outlasted Robert Bautista Agut 6-7, 6-4, 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 in five tough sets. Tennys Sandgren beat fellow American Sam Querrey in straight sets.
However, the biggest upsets of the day came in the women’s singles events where legendary Serena Williams and defending champ Naomi Osaka suffered unexpected defeats in round 3. Williams was knocked out after losing to China’s Qiang Wang.
The 23-time majors champion lost the match 4-6, 7-6 (7), 5-7. The No.3 seed Osaka was also stunned by American teen sensation Coco Gauff. The 15-year-old Gauff beat the Japanese star in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.
Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki played the last match of her professional career which ended in a 5-7, 6-3, 5-7 defeat to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.
Meanwhile, World no.1 Ashleigh Barty beat Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 6-3, 6-2.