John Millman gave Australia the early advantage.
John Millman gave Australia the early advantage.

Millmania! Kyrgios replacement steps up in style

HOMETOWN hero John Millman has proved a more than capable replacement for the injured Nick Kyrgios, beating Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4 6-2 to give Australia a 1-0 lead over Canada in their ATP Cup Group F clash.

With Kyrgios hindered by a sore back, Millman answered the call of captain Lleyton Hewitt at Pat Rafter Arena.

"Millmania" was alive and kicking, with the 30-year-old Brisbane product nullifying the power game of Auger-Aliassime, ranked 27 places higher than the Queenslander at number 21.

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The win went some way towards exorcising Millman's Davis Cup demons after he blamed himself for Australia's quarter-final loss to Canada in November when as a replacement for Kyrgios, he was beaten 7-6 6-4 by Vasek Pospisil.

Millman and Auger-Aliassime had met once previously, with the Canadian teenager winning 7-6 7-5 in May last year (2019) in a round-of-16 clash on clay in Lyon.

But it was a different story on blue hardcourts of Brisbane, with Millman's fighting spirit evident from his first service game.

Kyrgios was forced to watch from the sidelines.
Kyrgios was forced to watch from the sidelines.

Down 0-40, Millman fought back to win the next five points to level proceedings at 1-1.

However the power of the Canadian was too much for Millman in the fourth game, with Auger-Aliassime breaking to lead 3-1.

But Millman's response was automatic, breaking back in the next game.

It was part of nine-point run that helped Millman secure successive service breaks to take control of the set.

Fittingly he closed the 51-minute set with an ace.

Having broken the spirit of Auger-Aliassime, Millman ruthlessly finished the job in the second set, breaking the Canadian's serve twice to seal the match in one hour and 41 minutes.