Novak Djokovic will not meet Roger Federer in the US Open quarter-finals after the latter sensationally lost to the unseeded John Millman in the round of 16.
In a contest that finished at 00:51 local time in New York, Millman came from a set and a break down to inflict an extraordinary 3-6 7-5 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-3) defeat on Federer.
The 20-time grand slam champion looked lethargic throughout and struggled badly with his serve as he suffered a first defeat in New York to a player outside the world’s top 50.
Earlier, during the hottest part of a day when temperatures hit 90 degrees, Wimbledon champion Djokovic overcame some tough moments to beat Joao Sousa in straight sets.
The other winners on day eight of the tournament were Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic, who will now meet on Wednesday in a repeat of the 2014 final.
MILLMAN MAKES MASSIVE IMPACT
So much focus will understandably fall on Federer and his uncharacteristically poor display under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium.
However, world number 55 Millman deserves enormous credit after recovering from a shaky start to produce a performance of genuine quality.
Tell us what you think is going through @johnhmillman’s mind pic.twitter.com/7dz0K1dIJc
— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) September 4, 2018
The Australian not only demonstrated plenty of skill, but also showed character in abundance as he improved throughout the match and held his nerve to seal victory.
If he reaches the same level against Djokovic, another shock could yet be on the cards.
NOVAK HANDLES THE HEAT
Djokovic was not exactly on top form, although the sixth seed had to deal with extremely uncomfortable temperatures in his 6-3 6-4 6-3 victory over Sousa.
“Heat was the adversity today,” said the 2011 and 2015 champion, who has not dropped a set in five meetings with Sousa.
“It’s not easy to play in these kind of conditions. At the same time, you can’t do anything but try to be tough and survive, you know, find a way to win.”
Djokovic did just that and will now be a huge favourite in his quarter-final.
PRESSURE OFF FOR FIT-AGAIN NISHIKORI
Having returned from a lengthy period on the sidelines with a wrist injury, Nishikori is gradually getting back to something like the form that saw him make the final here four years ago.
Monday Memories:@keinishikori’s road to the 2014 final:
Odesnik R1#USOpen pic.twitter.com/topzbzErCG
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 3, 2018
The Japanese beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-2 7-5 on Louis Armstrong Stadium and said: “This year is easy for me, because I don’t expect any big result. I try to play one match at a time.
“This week it’s been great, every match I’ve been playing really good tennis, and, well, maybe I had more pressure a few years ago. But I kind of reset last year, took six months off, and this year, it’s been great.
“Right now I don’t have any pressure, but I’m also enjoying playing every match and enjoying playing tennis again a little more than before.”
Cilic, the man who beat Nishikori in the final four years ago, also won in straight sets on Monday, earning an impressive 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 6-4 triumph over 10th seed David Goffin.
As a result, there are four former US Open champions – Cilic, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro – in the last eight, together with Nishikori, Dominic Thiem, John Isner and that man Millman.