Millman relishes some US Open respite

Former quarter-finalist John Millman has continued his affinity with the US Open, moving into the second round in New York with an impressive upset win.

JOHN MILLMAN of Australia returns the ball during his men's singles quarter-final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia of the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City.
JOHN MILLMAN of Australia returns the ball during his men's singles quarter-final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia of the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

He's the only man ever to have taken on Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in successive matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

But John Millman was only too happy to be spared another tussle with a tennis titan after cashing in on a far more straightforward US Open draw.

Straightforward in that Millman still played a seed, just not a legend and prevailed in style, 6-1 6-4 6-4 over Georgia's world No.30 Nikoloz Basilashvili on Wednesday.

"I didn't play the lights out but I got through and I was pleased with my efforts," Millman said after joining fellow Australians Alex de Minaur, Jordan Thompson and Chris O'Connell in the second round.

A quarter-finalist in 2018 after upstaging Federer before running into Djokovic and then drawing Nadal in last year's first round, Millman relished playing Basilashvili on court seven.

He hit up on Arthur Ashe Stadium with former finalist Kevin Anderson and Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas pre-tournament but appreciated some luck in the draw this time around.

"It's such a nice court, Ashe. I did enjoy having those hits but I'm not going to be disappointed that I wasn't there first round because that would have meant it was going to be a pretty rough draw," he said.

"So it was nice to play outside tonight and to start out my campaign in a positive way."

His next opponent is another tough one.

Millman plays Frances Tiafoe, a 2019 Australian Open quarter-finalist who two years ago became the youngest American ATP Tour winner since Andy Roddick almost two decades ago.

"Normally when you knock out a seed, you probably think you have got a gettable second-round match but Frances is tough, especially in America," Millman said.

"Some of these American players, especially some of these young ones, they go to another level here in America - even when there's no crowd.

"They're more dangerous and Frances is one of the best athletes out there. He has a really powerful game, can go through service games easy and he's got it all.

"He'll be full of confidence so it's going to be a really challenging match. I'm hoping I can go to another level."