Australian John Millman is through to the second round of the Australian Open after defeating Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in four sets, 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
After taking the opening two sets comfortably, Millman, who last year crashed out during the first round, tonight was forced into a grinding match with his 40-year-old and 109-ranked opponent.
Millman looked to be in trouble following a worrying third set when Lopez finally broke through and was in control of his serve.
LIVE UPDATES: Australian Open day 1
But late in the fourth set, Millman excelled when it mattered most, on Lopez’s final service game to secure the match.
Millman admitted after the match that he thought he may have “blown it” after he was unable to capitalise on several breakpoints during a tightly contested fourth set.
“He (Lopez) started landing that first serve in the third and the fourth set and against those guys you only get one or two opportunities,” Millman said during his on-court interview.
“I thought maybe I had blown it a little bit in that fourth set – I had a couple of little breakpoints but he had some great serves under pressure … the crowd got behind me.
“The last 18 months for an Australian tennis player has been extreme and challenging.
“I know the people of Melbourne and the people of Australia have been in and out of lockdowns. I was feeling for them … to be able to now come out and have crowds using their energy, it is great. It is fantastic.
“It really gets you going especially after a really average start to the year that I’ve had. It is really nice to get a win.”
The Australian will face the winner of German superstar Alexander Zverev and Daniel Altmaier.
Australian Open day one in pictures: Fans make light of Novak Djokovic absence, Ash Barty’s formidable message to rivals
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!