‘Unbelievable’ Aussie’s French heartbreak
John Millman has never won a main draw match at the French Open but damn did he come close to breaking that trend.
Millman so nearly pulled off the biggest upset on the men's side so far as he roared back from two sets to love down to force a fifth set against fifth-seeded German Alexander Zverev.
Ultimately he fell 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 2-6 6-7 (7-5) 6-3 in just over four hours of epic action, for which Zverev praised the Aussie world No. 56 highly.
"John was unbelievable," Zverev said.
"He played great tennis, he has beaten top players before. He beat Roger (Federer) at the US (Open in 2018) so I knew it would be a tough match today."
Millman to his credit did not give up when down two sets and roared back into the match, breaking serve multiple times to take the third set.
Then despite dropping serve early in the fourth he kept fighting and eventually a slew of unforced errors from the Zverev backhand got Millman the break back.
In the fourth set tiebreak, Zverev's serve, which had been iffy all match betrayed him again as he threw in one of 14 double faults to give Millman the mini-break.
The Aussie would not relinquish it and when he took the set on another backhand unforced error from Zverev, the German lost the plot.
Zverev sat down in his chair and obliterated his racket between sets, drawing a code violation.
It could have unsettled him but it seemed to have a calming effect on the World No. 5, who came out all the better for it and ratcheted up his game.
He was hitting the ball harder and with more depth, but Millman was hanging in there after saving a break point at 2-3 to hold serve.
But the pivotal moment came in the next game with Zverev serving.
At 15-0 Millman had the German dead to rights after he slipped at the back of the court but Millman failed to put the volley away, Zverev got off the clay to hit a winner and held to love for a 4-3 lead.
It seemed to spur the German on.
Millman then again should have put Zverev away - he had 40-0 one his serve but lost five straight points to be broken as Zverev then held to love, winning nine straight points to advance to the second round.
Millman's effort was in stark contrast to an absolute shocker put in by Bernard Tomic earlier on in the day as he was dismissed in just 82 minutes amid suggestions of tanking.