The Mailman Delivers; Kyrgios, Karlovic Fall
Fratangelo sinks ace king Karlovic
Millman withstood 17 aces and saved four of 14 break point opportunities in a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 first-round win over Kyrgios, who recently reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final at the Western & Southern Open (l. to Dimitrov).
“I knew it was going to be a tough match from the get-go,” Kyrgios said. “I was feeling good. Obviously, the final in Cincy. Every practice session I had here was good ... Early in the third set I hit one serve and I never felt the same after that.”
The 28-year-old Millman, currently No. 235 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, is playing at the US Open under a protected ranking after a groin injury kept him off the ATP World Tour for more than four months.
Kyrgios appeared to hold the upperhand after winning five straight games in the second set, but received on court treatment for a shoulder injury after the third game of the third set. From 4-4 in the third set, Millman won five straight games en route to his biggest victory since beating No. 15-ranked Richard Gasquet in the 2016 Winston-Salem Open quarter-finals.
Millman will now play Malek Jaziri on Thursday after the Tunisian ground out a 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 result over Thiago Monteiro of Brazil. Kyrgios had nothing but praise for his compatriot, given the long-running injury woes he had overcome.
“I know he's obviously had some physical struggles, as well, had shoulder surgery. He's been struggling over the last year or two,” Kyrgios said. “I know he always gives his best effort. He's always competing.
“I get happy when I see someone like that that's been through a lot. You know, he's got a good opportunity. Obviously the draw opens up for him now … I mean, obviously a fellow Aussie, as well. I'm not going to be jealous or envious of anyone that's still in the draw or anything like that. I'm happy for him.”
Wild card Bjorn Fratangelo recorded his first US Open victory by beating another big-server, Ivo Karlovic, the aces leader since the ATP World Tour started keeping records in 1991.
Fratangelo improved to 2-7 lifetime at Grand Slam championships by knocking out 38-year-old Karlovic 7-6(2), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) in three hours and 15 minutes.
"They looked pretty big and the trajectory is unbelievable," Fratangelo said about Karlovic's 46 aces. "I've played John Isner in Newport and the ball isn't bouncing as high, but this was ridiculous. There's no way to stand back and you have to just guess and take everything early. I think I did pretty well all things considered, because if I was on it, then I was winning the majority of the points.
"To win my first US Open match is pretty special. I've always struggled here, even in juniors. I don't know if it's the chaos and everything going on. But to get this win with a packed crowd at the end, is very special."