Uffff..wow..Our team at The Lucky net cord are still trying to catch our breath after that day of tennis. For a tennis fan Western Hemisphere, the Australian open means a fortnight of sleeplessness and immense adrenaline rush during those epic 5 set matches. Day 5 had plenty of those moments and more:
For a change, we start with the women’s singles. The day started with Caroline Wozniacki taking on Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. The former world number one playing her last tournament could not overcome Jabeur’s big hitting, bowing out to an emotional farewell. Serena Williams, on the other hand, was involved in an engrossing battle against Qiang Wang. The pre-tournament favourite lost the first set with some inconsistent tennis but came back strong in the second set tiebreak to take it to the third set but Wang did not wither under the pressure and registered another big win against a top opponent. The results of these two matches threw the women’s draw wide open. The most awaited match of the day between Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff did not really live up to the expectations with the teenager winning comfortably in straight sets.
On to the men’s then..Milos Raonic caught everyone, and probably himself too, by surprise with his demolition of Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. Marin Cilic continued his progress with another impressive win against Bautista Agut. Tennys Sandgren beat Sam Querry in an all-American match up. The day ended with an epic battle between John Millman and Roger Federer. The Swiss was vary of the challenge posed by Millman, considering his loss against the Aussie at the US Open in 2018. But no one expected the match to play out the way it did. Even when not playing his best tennis in the final set tiebreak, Federer was able to conjure something from his reserves, to pull off a miraculous escape that left the Aussie heart broken. The match had everything. Millman was exceptional with his ground strokes, especially the passing shots. He would have hoped for a cheap point when he had the mini break and was serving at 8-6. Two big serves was all that he needed and he was through. But that’s the magic of tennis. The game places a huge premium on the big points. Federer was able to get the two mini breaks, held his serve to gain a match point for himself and then romped to victory with some dodged defence and a magical cross court forehand that would have felt like a dagger to the heart of John Millman. The GOAT lives to fight another day but at the age of 39, could this match have taken too much out of his tank? We will know when he plays the in-form Marton Fucsovics in the fourth round.