Novak Djokovic needed just three sets to crush John Millman on Wednesday in the US Open to make it to another semi-final. He won 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to enter the last-four stage where he will take on Kei Nishikori.
World number 52 Millman had never beaten a top-ten ranked player before, but the man who, as recently as 2014 slipped to 1,193 in the rankings after shoulder reconstruction surgery, is now just three matches from becoming the first Australian to win a Grand Slam title since Lleyton Hewitt’s 2002 Wimbledon triumph.
However, to manage that he is going to have to get past Djokovic first, and that is no easy feat.
Although not at his best in the first week of the tournament – he dropped sets to both Marton Fucsovics and Tennys Sandgren in his opening two matches – he swept aside Richard Gasquet in the third round, and, despite dropping his serve in the second set, was almost as dominant against Portugal’s Joâo Sousa in his last 16 tie on Tuesday.
However, the 31-year old Serb has visibly been suffering from the heat and humidity in New York, and Tuesday’s match saw him asked for iced towels to be hung around his neck during the changeovers.
More worrying for his fans was the appearance on court of a doctor who appeared to be holding a stethoscope but, after a brief medical time out, Djokovic reappeared and went on to close out the match.
Assuming he is fully recovered, Djokovic will start overwhelming favourite to win the match. The two met have only met once before, and that was earlier this year on the grass of the Queen’s club, where Djokovic won a round 32 encounter 6 -2, 6 -1.
It is hard to see beyond a similarly one-sided score line this time round, and, with either Marin Čilić or Kei Nishikori as potential semi-final opponents, the Wimbledon champion will be confident of his chances of reaching his second successive Grand Slam final.
For 29-year old Millman, whatever the result, this tournament has been a success, not least because he is set to pick up the biggest cheque of his professional career, with quarter-finalists guaranteed prize money of US $475,000.
The match is on Wednesday, September 5, and you can find the exact time for this one in our US Open order of play here.