Focused de Minaur on a US Open mission

Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur is through to the third round of the US Open but former quarter-finalist John Millman has bowed out at Flushing Meadows.

ALEX DE MINAUR.
ALEX DE MINAUR. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Alex de Minaur is taking intensity and focus to extreme new levels as he closes in on another second-week assault on the US Open in New York.

De Minaur showed true grit to move into the third round for the third year running but fellow Australian John Millman is out following a crushing five-set loss to American Frances Tiafoe.

De Minaur gathered himself after a mid-match collapse to close out a tense four-set win over French veteran Richard Gasquet before Millman succumbed 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 1-6 6-3 6-3 in a four-hour rollercoaster ride.

De Minaur held three match points at 6-3 in the third-set tiebreaker only for Gasquet to drag himself off the canvas.

The 2013 semi-finalist and former world No.7 then led 3-0 in the fourth set.

But de Minaur showed all his renowned fighting qualities to level the set, then break Gasquet in the 11th game and serve out a 6-4 6-3 6-7 (8-6) 7-5 win.

The 34-year-old Frenchman was visibly wilting in the latter stages of the match as on-court temperatures nudged 35 degrees and de Minaur said he knew he had the stamina to see him off.

"I back my fitness against anyone and that really helped me out today," said the 21st seed.

De Minaur will face giant Russian 11th seed Karen Khachanov for a place in the fourth round for the second straight year.

The 198cm tall Khachanov, who lost in a titanic, five-set Australian Open third-round clash against Nick Kyrgios in January, booked his last-32 spot with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 6-1 win over compatriot Andrey Kuznetsov.

Sunday's encounter will be the first time the pair have met and de Minaur knows he will face a vastly different test against the hard-hitting world No.16 to what he encountered against the tigerish Gasquet.

"He is a big guy who likes to hit the ball very big," he said.

"The most important thing for me is to not get dictated to and I have to stand my ground and make my presence felt.

"If I can do that then I can go well, but it is going to be a very tough match."

Single-minded at the best of times, de Minaur said being locked away in a COVID-19 bubble left him with nothing but grand slam glory to focus on.

"I have done nothing - I've gone from the courts to the hotel to my room," the 21-year-old said.

Millman appeared to be joining de Minaur and Jordan Thompson in the third round after steaming through the second and third sets against Tiafoe.

"It's going to hurt," Millman said after his gut-wrenching defeat.

Russian third seed and 2019 finalist Daniil Medvedev ended Chris O'Connell's breakout campaign with a 6-3 6-2 6-3 win over the main-draw debutant in the feature night match.

Thompson plays Kazakhstan's world No.90 Mikhail Kukushkin on Saturday with a golden opportunity to make the fourth round of a slam for the first time.

HOW THE AUSSIES FARED ON DAY FOUR OF THE US OPEN (PREFIX DENOTES SEEDING)

Men's singles, second round:

21-Alex de Minaur bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-4 6-3 6-7 (8-6) 7-5

John Millman lost to Frances Tiafoe (USA) 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 1-6 6-3 6-3

Chris O'Connell lost to 3-Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 6-3 6-2 6-4