John Millman has entered Australia’s Davis Cup folklore with another stirring comeback victory to steer his country into the finals.
Millman’s heroics delivered Australia a three-one win against Brazil in the qualifying tie at Memorial Drive in Adelaide.
A day after coming from a set down to win his opening singles rubber, Millman has repeated the feat on Saturday to down Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-3).
The triumph gives Australia an unbeatable lead – and a ticket into the Cup finals in November in Spain.
Captain Lleyton Hewitt said Millman was the hero.
“That is what Davis Cup tennis is all about,” Hewitt said.
What a performance. That is going to go down as one of the great weekends in his career.”
“I always believed,” Millman said. “The body was a little sore; the emotion levels were perhaps a little bit down at times – it’s tough to be up the whole time.
“But that is when you have really got to use your bench and use the experience that is Lleyton Hewitt and Tony Roche … they dragged me up when I was nearly down.”
Millman took the court on Saturday after Australia’s doubles team James Duckworth and John Peers fell in a cliffhanger.
Brazil’s Marcelo Demoliner and Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves pipped the Australian duo 5-7 7-5 7-6 (8-6).
Millman, who came from a set down on Friday to defeat young gun Thiago Seyboth Wild, prevailed in an an epic encounter against Monteiro.
The Australian heaped pressure on early, having eight break points in the Brazilian’s initial two service games.
But Monteiro refused to buckle and saved them all, setting a gripping tone for the match.
The Brazilian took the opening set with a late break of Millman’s serve.
And world No.43 Millman, Australia’s top-ranked player in the absence of injured duo Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur, claimed the second set with a dominant tie-breaker, winning the initial four points.
Games went on serve in the third, creating a high-stakes tie-breaker which Millman opened with an ace.
The decisive moment came with scores 3-3 when Monteiro, after being run from pillar to post by Millman’s precise groundstrokes, mistimed a forehand to give the Australian the mini-break.
It started a stretch of four-consecutive points to Millman which settled the match, the tie and Australia’s short-term Davis Cup status.