John Millman has the first ATP Tour title of his career after beating Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-1 at the Astana Open.

This has been a tough season for the Australian, who had not managed to wins at the same Tour-level event since the Australian Open until this week.

But a string of impressive results against Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Paul and then Frances Tiafoe secured a final meeting with Mannarino.

The Frenchman's 2020 struggles have been even more stark, taking a 6-14 record to Kazakhstan, and he proved an accommodating opponent for Millman, failing to take his opportunities.

Five break points came and went for Mannarino in the first set before Millman broke at the first attempt to take the opener.

Mannarino then offered little resistance in the second, waiting until the final game to squander his sixth and last chance as Millman claimed a straight-sets win.

Alexander Zverev started his quest to win back-to-back ATP tournaments in Cologne with a battling victory over John Millman.

Zverev was crowned Cologne Indoors champion last weekend and the US Open runner-up moved into the quarter-finals of the Cologne Championships on Wednesday.

The top seed beat Australian Millman 6-0 3-6 6-3, despite double-faulting 10 times, and has now won 11 of his last 12 matches on hard courts.

Zverev saved six of the seven break points Millman earned and won 79 per cent of points behind his first serve, setting up a last-eight meeting with eighth seed Adrian Mannarino.

Mannarino was a 6-3 6-3 winner against Miomir Kecmanovic, while Alejandro Davidovich Fokina advanced to the quarter-finals following a 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 victory over Steve Johnson.

Felix Auger-Aliassime, beaten by Zverev in the final on Sunday, rallied past qualifier Egor Gerasimov 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4).

Pablo Carreno Busta slumped to a surprise defeat at the European Open in Antwerp, Ugo Humbert beating the second seed 5-7 6-3 6-4.

Frenchman Humbert was joined in the quarter-finals by Grigor Dimitrov, Alex De Minaur and Dan Evans, while Milos Raonic and Taylor Fritz progressed to the round of 16.

Jannik Sinner raced past lucky loser James Duckworth in the first round of the Cologne Championships, where John Millman booked a meeting with top seed Alexander Zverev. 

French Open quarter-finalist Sinner took just 61 minutes to seal a 6-1 6-2 victory against Duckworth, who replaced Hubert Hurkacz after the Pole withdrew due to food poisoning. 

The 19-year-old Italian reached a career high 46 in the rankings following his exploits at Roland Garros and cruised past Duckworth after fending off two break points in a 12-minute game at 2-2 in the second set. 

Sinner will go up against qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert in round two after the Frenchman defeated Tennys Sandgren 6-3 3-6 6-3 at the ATP event on Tuesday. 

Zverev defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime in the final of last week's tournament in Cologne and will begin his bid for a second straight title against Millman after the Australian overcame Fernando Verdasco 6-4 6-2. 

At the European Open in Antwerp, Alex De Minaur came from a set down to defeat veteran Richard Gasquet 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3. 

When serving for the set in the second set, Gasquet produced an unforced error following a reactive backhand from De Minaur. He then double faulted at 5-5 in the tie-break and the Australian eighth seed dished out the ultimate punishment. 

Federico Coria stepped in after Kei Nishikori withdrew due to a right shoulder injury and the Argentinian was comfortably beaten 6-2 6-3 by Pablo Andujar. 

Fernando Verdasco slumped to another first-round loss, while Cristian Garin battled through at the Rio Open on Monday.

Verdasco, the ninth seed at the ATP 500 tournament, was beaten 6-3 6-3 by fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar on the clay in Brazil.

The 36-year-old has fallen to three straight losses, the first of which was a third-round defeat at the Australian Open.

Verdasco – the 2018 runner-up – was one of three seeds tested, but Garin survived a test against Andrej Martin.

Garin, who won the title in Cordoba earlier this month, needed more than three hours to edge Martin 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5).

Albert Ramos-Vinolas departed, the seventh seed falling to 16-year-old Carlos Alcaraz 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 7-6 (7-2) after three hours, 36 minutes.

Federico Delbonis advanced, while wildcard Thiago Seyboth Wild needed almost four hours to get past Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

There were also upsets at the Delray Beach Open, where John Millman and Adrian Mannarino were beaten in the first round.

Millman, the fifth seed, went down to Yoshihito Nishioka 3-6 6-4 6-2 and seventh seed Mannarino fell to Kwon Soon-woo 1-6 6-3 6-2.

Frances Tiafoe, the champion in 2018, came through his opener against qualifier Emilio Gomez.

Roger Federer shrugged off questions about his high unforced error count after he survived a massive Australian Open scare from John Millman. 

Federer appeared destined for a third-round exit when he fell behind 8-4 in the decisive match tie-break at the end of the fifth set.

Millman had come from two sets to one down to move within two points of victory, but Federer rattled off six successive points to seal his 100th win at the Australian Open 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) in four hours and three minutes.

The 20-time grand slam champion prevailed despite hitting 82 unforced errors, 48 of them coming off the forehand side.

Asked about that number in his post-match media conference, Federer replied: "I mean, honestly, nothing against the statistics people, but over a four-hour match you're going to hit unforced errors.

"What is an unforced error? Is it when it comes at 120 [kilometres] an hour or 135 or you're on the stretch? So, for me, he pushed me to go for more.

"You know me – I'm not going to hold back and just rally all the time. I will always try to make plays, and for that, I will miss some.

"Of course, sometimes I wish I could have maybe hit a few more winners instead of unforced errors, but, you know, it shows how slow the courts can be, as well, you know, how many rallies get created, how he didn't serve and volley once.

"I served and volleyed maybe what, 10 times? Five times? It's that crazy at these moments. When you can come in and you play serve and volley and, you know, volley errors don't count I don't think ever, and rally errors always count. So, there you go."

Federer was effusive in his praise for Millman, who defeated the Swiss at the 2018 US Open.

"I just think he's just so, so tough from the baseline. He's got sort of good speed on the backhand, on the forehand," added Federer when asked why Millman is such a tough opponent.

"The way he hits it makes it, for me, unsure if I should pull the trigger or I shouldn't. Is it there to be hit or not? Every time I get a ball, I'm in two ways, because I have the option to do that with my game, but then he covers the court very well.

"Because he hits it hard enough, maybe it's harder for me to find [an] angle. I think the biggest problem for me was just I wasn't able to get… I was not returning poorly, per se; I was just not getting into those neutral rallies, finding the ways to unlock him.

"That's his credit. He's a great player. He's got great attitude, and that's why I mumbled something to him at the net just saying, 'I have so much respect for you, and it's such a pity, I'm so sorry, but well played', and all that stuff, because I really feel that way for John."

Roger Federer produced a dramatic late comeback in a fifth-set tie-break to survive a huge scare from John Millman and progress to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Day five had already seen Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Stefanos Tsitsipas dealt shock defeats, and there looked to be another in store as Millman surged into an 8-4 lead in the final-set tie-break having been two sets to one down.

Recent history was also on the side of Millman, who defeated Federer in the 2018 US Open, while the 20-time grand slam champion went into Friday's encounter having lost his previous three five-set matches.

However, Federer somehow reeled off six successive points, a stunning forehand pass securing a 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) win that marked his 100th at Melbourne Park and booked a last-16 clash with Marton Fucsovics.

The first set the tone for an uncharacteristically error-strewn performance from Federer.

He committed 14 unforced errors in the opener, and a double fault followed by a wayward forehand gifted Millman the early lead.

Millman faced the only break point of the second, but it was vintage Federer in the subsequent tie-break, the Swiss masterful in equal measure at the baseline and the net as he raced into a decisive 6-1 lead.

The third followed a markedly similar pattern with Federer finding no way through the Millman resistance. That was until the 10th game, when the Queenslander's composure cracked and he pushed long to seemingly give Federer control of the match.

But even as the errors crept into his game, Millman displayed a remarkable ability to trade blows with Federer in the longer exchanges and he brought up break point with a superb return before winning a tremendous rally that ended with the Swiss sending a forehand into the net.

Federer was 30-0 ahead in the subsequent game, only for four successive errors to allow Millman to hold, with a love hold then sending an absorbing contest to a fifth.

Another unforced error gave Millman the initiative in the decider and, though he gave the break back and squandered a pair of break points at 3-3, the home hope appeared on course to repeat his 2018 achievement in the tie-break.

Indeed, it was Millman who seemed to have the most left in the tank, and an astonishing cross-court pass put him within two points of victory.

Federer, though, is still capable of defying the odds at the age of 38, and he delivered a reminder that he should never be counted out with an emphatic response that capped an epic of four hours and three minutes in fitting fashion, his forehand passing shot making the most of an indecisive Millman volley.

Roger Federer continues to dazzle the Melbourne public as he prepares to renew acquaintances with John Millman in the Australian Open third round on Friday.

Trying to banish the memories of last year's shock fourth-round exit, third seed Federer has looked a class above in his two matches so far at Melbourne Park.

The 20-time grand slam champion is eyeing a record-equalling seventh Australian Open title this year.

We take a closer look at Federer's form ahead of his rematch against Australian favourite Millman.

 

Form and results

While stiffer tests are to come, any slight doubts over Federer and his lack of preparation ahead of the Australian Open have been dismissed. The 38-year-old progressed to the third round at Melbourne Park for the 21st straight year by easing past Filip Krajinovic on Wednesday. Federer tallied 42 winners and just 14 unforced errors.

R1: bt Johnson 6-3 6-2 6-2
R2: bt Krajinovic 6-1 6-4 6-1

Next up

It is a reunion for Federer and Millman, who sensationally eliminated the superstar from the US Open last 16 in 2018. Riding a wave of local support, the 47th-ranked Millman has seen off Ugo Humbert and 31st seed Hubert Hurkacz en route to his first third-round appearance at the Australian Open since 2016.

Draw

Red-hot American Tommy Paul or Marton Fucsovics would be next for Federer, should the Swiss sensation make it through. There has been plenty of buzz and hype surrounding 22-year-old Paul, who is beginning to realise his potential at Melbourne Park.

What he said

"I think the next match is really going to be a test for me because John is going to be there. He's fit like a fiddle. I've lost to him in the past in a best-of-five set match. I almost lost to him in Brisbane, as well, the first time I played against him. He's from this country, so naturally also it's going to be different intensity. I think this is going to be a good test for me."

Roger Federer has no desire to revisit the last time he played John Millman at a major but insists he'll be ready for the home favourite at the Australian Open on Friday.

Federer made serene progress into round three in Melbourne with a 6-1 6-4 6-1 defeat of Filip Krajinovic and will now face Millman, a 6-4 7-5 6-3 victor over Hubert Hurkacz.

Their only previous grand slam meeting came at the 2018 US Open when the Australian won a round of 16 encounter in four sets in blistering heat in New York.

Asked if that match had pushed him further than any other physically, he said: "Yeah, definitely. I don't know anything remotely close. I was just happy it was over.

"I never had that [before]. I rather go back in time [and think I'd like to] play that match again. But I don't have that feeling about that match. I was just happy the US Open was over and I could focus.

"I think it was a combination of many things that went wrong for me on that day, plus the opponent was ready and tough as nails.

"I have no regrets. I tried everything in the match itself, it was just not meant to be that day. I hit the wall."

Conditions in Melbourne have been much kinder for Federer so far, both meteorologically and in terms of the draw.

The third seed was barely tested by first-round opponent Steve Johnson or Krajinovic, but rubbished suggestions that would leave him undercooked.

"I prefer this much more than being overcooked," said the Swiss.

"I prefer it this way because you have always extra left in the tank if you need it."

Federer is likely to have to dig deeper against Millman, especially as he may be in the unusual position of not being the crowd favourite.

Millman has already suggested the match should be moved away from Rod Laver Arena due to the number of corporate fans that inhabit the main show court at Melbourne Park - a request that is likely to fall on deaf ears - but Federer is more than happy to play in a raucous atmosphere.

He said: "I'm always happy when the crowd gets involved.

"I don't choose which court I play on. I don't know if he was joking or if he was serious [about moving].

"You would think a match like this should be played on Rod Laver Arena maybe. I don't know if the other seeds have good match-ups as well.

"He knows Margaret Court Arena better [and] Melbourne Arena but I haven't thought about it.

"I figured this was always going to be on Rod Laver Arena but I'm ready to go anywhere, whatever it takes."

Denis Shapovalov was surprisingly beaten in straight sets by 21-year-old Ugo Humbert at the Auckland Open on Friday.

A day after first and third seeds Fabio Fognini and Karen Khachanov were knocked out, second seed Shapovalov was beaten 7-5 6-4.

Humbert, who broke serve in the final game of each set, described the win as "one of the biggest of my career" as he set up a semi-final against John Isner.

The American was taken to two tie-breaks by Kyle Edmund but prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5), his 25 aces getting him over the line as he seeks a third title in Auckland.

Benoit Paire reached his first semi-final at the event, coming from a set down to beat John Millman 3-6 6-1 6-4.

The fifth seed will face Hubert Hurkacz, who spurned six second-set match points in a mammoth tie-break before eventually seeing off Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-7 (11-13) 6-4.

At the Adelaide International, home favourite Alex Bolt was soundly beaten by Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian needing just 55 minutes to win 6-3 6-0.

He will meet Andrey Rublev in the last four after the Russian battled past Dan Evans 6-4 3-6 6-3 in just over two hours.

Spanish hopes were extinguished in the quarter-finals, where Tommy Paul surprised Albert Ramos-Vinolas to win 6-3 6-4 and Lloyd Harris beat fourth seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3 6-3.

Nick Kyrgios has pledged to donate $200 for every ace he serves during the Australian summer for those affected by devastating bushfires in his homeland. 

At least 18 people have been killed as blazes ravage areas of New South Wales and Victoria.

A week-long state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales from Friday, with thousands of people told to evacuate the area between Batemans Bay and the border with the state of Victoria following the forecast of searing temperatures on Saturday.

Kyrgios proposed an exhibition match before the Australian Open and will use his powerful serve to help victims of the fires.

The world number 30 tweeted on Thursday: "I'm kicking off the support for those affected by the fires. I'll be donating $200 per ace that I hit across all the events I play this summer."

Kyrgios' compatriots Alex de Minaur and John Millman responded by vowing to donate $250 and $100 per ace respectively.

Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley earlier posted on social media: "For weeks we've been watching the devastation caused by bushfires across Australia and the people affected are constantly in our thoughts.

"We want to help these communities in a meaningful way and will announce a number of fundraising initiatives that will be rolled out across the ATP Cup, Australian Open and our other events over the coming weeks."

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