Photograph: Michael Errey / AFP
John Millman has advanced to the second round of the Australian Open with a 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 victory over 40-year-old Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.
The 32-year-old Queenslander was able to put ongoing back issues aside to clinch his first Grand Slam main draw win since the 2020 US Open.
“Look, to be honest with you, probably physically and mentally [I’m] probably still feeling it. Yeah, I've been battling with a back for a couple of years now,” Millman said in his post-match press conference.
The Aussie hit just two unforced errors in the opening set as he blazed away to take it 6-1.
“Yeah, well, I started off really well. I don't think Feliciano served particularly well, and
obviously, that's one of his big strengths,” Millman said.
The Aussie firmed his grip on the contest in the second set, slapping 12 winners past the Spaniard to claim the set 6-3.
“I had to look after my service games. I did that pretty well for most of the match,” Millman said.
Millman looked well on his way to a comprehensive straight-sets victory, but the Spaniard refused to throw in the towel, landing seven aces and winning 14/16 points on his first serve to take the third set and force a fourth.
“He really started to turn it on with his serving, hitting his spots,” Millman explained.
The Aussie had seven break point opportunities throughout the fourth set, but waited until the last game of the set to take his opportunity, breaking Lopez at 6-5, to clinch a 7-5 fourth set, and with that the match.
It’s an impressive win for Millman, who's still feeling the heat after struggling to capture his best form last year as he battled ongoing injuries and an extended stint overseas due to COVID restrictions back home.
Millman will hope to continue his winning ways when he faces No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev in the second round on Wednesday.