Roger Federer opened his season with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over 25-year old Aussie Wildcard John Millman at the Brisbane International overnight. He moves straight into a quarter-final showdown with James Duckworth on Pat Rafter Arena.
The Swiss Maestro was a set and a break down but rallied to withstand Millman’s strong baseline game. The 153rd ranked Millman displayed terrific energy, no doubt boosted by the home crowd, but he could not match the composed Federer who broke twice in the second set to re-establish himself in the match.
Federer moves on to another Aussie in James Duckworth who survived a scare against Jarkko Nieminen. Duckworth dropped the opening set and had to battle the rest of the way, eventually winning 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
Duckworth demonstrated great resolve to hold off match point in the second set at 5-6. He will need similar mental strength and utilise his big serve against Federer who showed glimpses of his greatness against Millman.
Roger Federer defeated Duckworth last year at the Brisbane International but he has spoken with great respect for the Aussie youngster.
“He played a great match against Nieminen. He looked down and out for most of the match but fought his way through,” Federer said.
“He can play free tennis, which is clearly dangerous, especially if he hits a big ball like he can.”
Duckworth will be hoping to go through to the semis with fellow Aussie Sam Groth who booked his place in the quarter final against Canadian Milos Raonic on Friday with a stunning three set win over Lukasz Kubot.
Duckworth plays Federer Friday night in a quick turnaround that is a feature of the short style tournament. Both players will be hoping to play well in preparation for the Australian Open later this month.
– Photo: AFP