Roger Federer survived a grueling, five-set battle on Friday at the Australian Open, beating home-country favorite John Millman 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10-8) to advance to the fourth round.
The win was Federer's 100th at Melbourne Park, where he has won six Australian Opens. The four-hour, three-minute match came down to the fifth-set tie-breaker, which requires 10 points instead of the traditional seven for a win at the tournament.
The third-seeded Federer was down 0-3 and 4-8 in the tiebreaker but rallied to win the final six points and the match.
"Oh God, it was tough," an exhausted Federer said in an on-court interview just after the match.
"I think John played a great match. ... He is a great fighter, a good guy and it came down to the wire at the end.
"A bit of luck maybe goes one way. I had to stay so focused, take the right decision. He was doing all that stuff at the beginning of the match tie-break, coming up with the goods and I thought, 'OK, I guess I tried.' I didn't play too bad after all and I was getting ready to explain myself in the press conference."
This was Federer's first five-set victory since the 2018 Australian Open and broke his streak of three straight five-set losses, most recently to Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the quarterfinals of the 2019 U.S. Open.
It was Millman who eliminated Federer in the 2018 U.S. Open, beating him in the fourth round 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3). But the 38-year-old Swiss had just enough to fight off Millman and move to 3-1 all-time against him.
Federer committed an uncharacteristic 82 unforced errors but was helped by 62 winners, including 16 aces.
He credited the 30-year-old Millman, ranked No. 47 in the world, saying he did "such a nice job of not making many mistakes and I was struggling in the forehand cross court, backhand cross court. He was dominating both sides, so I think for me it was a matter of holding my own serve, figure out a way and give myself time and chances."
Next up for Federer is Marton Fucsovics of Hungary, who cruised to a 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Tommy Paul.
Seven-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic, the No. 2 seed, defeated Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in just 85 minutes, winning 43 of 46 (93.5 percent) off his first-serve points. The Serbian's next opponent will be No. 14 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, who scored a 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7) win over Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.
Marin Cilic of Croatia upset No. 9 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round against No. 32 seed Milos Raonic of Canada, who upset No. 6 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
Also advancing was No. 12 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy, who eliminated Argentine Guido Pella, the No. 22 seed, 7-6 (0), 6-2, 6-3.
--Field Level Media