Finally, Novak Djokovic has entered the US Open semi-finals after crushing Millman with his immaculate record in the last eight over Federer’s subjugator John Millman.
The 31-year-old Serb champion merited 6-3 6-4 6-4 win over the Australian world number 55.
Twice a champion at Flushing Meadows, Djokovic has now triumphed all of his 11 quarter-final matches held in New York.
Djokovic gears up to face Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the last four on Friday.
Although the Serb champion missed last year’s tournament citing an elbow injury, he has managed to mark his presence at least in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows since 2007.
Suggested by the scoreline, the victory was, however, a tough nut to crack for Novak since Millman provided a stoic resistance prior to Djokovic’s claiming his first match point just before midnight local time, i.e. after 2 hours 49 minutes.
Djokovic inches closer to Sampras records
A bigger piece of history waits for Djokovic if he can crack his way through New York claiming the 14th Grand Slam. The conquest would position him behind Federer (20) and Nadal (17), and alongside Sampras.
For this, he had to first beat the dynamic Millman on another stifling night on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Dropping just three games in their previous meeting in June on the grass at Queen’s Club, Djokovic breezed past the Australian player.
However, this time he had to toil harder.
Before winning 12 of the final 15 points to move ahead, the former world number one missed 16 of 20 break points but bounced back in the game by 3-1 up in the third set of the game.
As Millman forced off the court, heat caused more problems
Failure in converting break points was just one of the problems that Djokovic faced. The hot and humid weather made the matters worse for the Serb champion, however, it was not the first time that he had to struggle at the tournament.
Millman leaves with enhanced rank and reputation
As Millman inflicted a four-set defeat on the Swiss second seed Federer in the last 16, it ended the possible meeting of the two champions in the quarter-finals.
Djokovic thrived on the backing as the affectionate New York crowd sided with Millman. Often chatting and interacting with his fans in the stands, the Australian world number 55 tried to vex Djokovic.
In addition to clutch serving, Millman entertained his backers with some remarkable retrieving as he advanced towards bidding adieu to the 11 break points – amidst the ones that Djokovic converted for a 2-0 lead in the first set and a 5-4 advantage in the second.
However, he failed to test the Serbian serve often, and finally, when he was able to do so, Novak hit straight back.
Nonetheless, Millman left New York with a superior reputation and a career-high ranking of 37 after attaining his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
At times Millman distracted Djokovic with some breathtaking retrieving Millman kept him hooked on the court for as long as possible.
The Serb seemed to struggle in the high humidity, requesting for a nasal spray, as he converted only one of his 13 break points.
The frustration of being docked a first serve for slow play late in the match soon passed and a straight-set victory is always gratefully accepted in a Grand Slam quarter-final. Djokovic won just before the stroke of midnight in less than three hours, a luxury not afforded to Rafael Nadal the previous night.