John Millman is the first Australian to be eliminated at the 2021 US Open, falling in straight sets 7-6, 7-6, 6-1 in his opening round clash.
Returning to the scene of his greatest Grand Slam run the veteran Aussie bowed out at the hands of the 130 ranked Finish born Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen.
Millman dropped a tight 54-minute opening set 7-6, during which neither player faced a break point.
Laaksonen took the set despite winning only 8 points on Millman’s serve throughout.
Millman generated his first break point opportunity at 2-2 in the second but couldn’t capitalise before being broken himself to fall behind 5-3.
But the Queenslander dug in and broke for the first time in the match to stay in the second set. The break points generated in games 4 and 9 of that set would be the only 2 he would see for the day.
Another tie break followed with Millman surrendering 5 points on his serve, including 3 from forehand errors as Laaksonen poured on the pressure from the baseline.
With a 2-set lead Laaksonen would break in the opening game of the third before dominating with 2 additional breaks to close it out 6-1 in 27 minutes.
After a solid first set, Millman’s game fell away with 28 unforced errors to 15 across sets 2 and 3.
Laaksonen’s serve proved impenetrable as the match pushed on, serving 16 aces to 3 and claiming 86% of points on first serve after the opening set.
Millman now has just a 6-10 record in Grand Slam matches since his bold run to the quarter finals at Flushing Meadows in 2018 which included a victory over Roger Federer.
His first-round exit adds to losses in the opening round of the Australian Open and Wimbledon, as well as the second round at the Tokyo Olympics.
He was forced to withdraw from the French Open with injury just minutes before his opening round clash.
He had been troubled by a foot injury in recent times, withdrawing from the ATP event at Winston Salem just last week.
Laaksonen, who only scraped through to the main draw in qualifying after a battle in his final match on Saturday will now face 16th seed Chilean Cristian Garin in the second round.
Listen to The First Serve with Brett Phillips and Sam Groth as they discuss the US Open – 6.30pm-8pm AEST next Monday 6th September on 1116AM SEN Melbourne, 1629AM SEN SA / replayed at 8pm AEST on 1170am Sydney or listen live and catch up on the SEN App.
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