John Millman is ruing the one that got away after suffering a gut-wrenching first-round loss at the US Open.
Australian tennis’ biggest rankings riser lamented his failure to convert any of four set-point chances in the pivotal third set of his 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 loss to Sergiy Stakhovsky.
“It probably hinged on that,” Millman said.
“I started terribly and then I worked my way into the match and third set I had some chances – all on his serve – and the majority of times he played some good points.
“It was frustrating out there because I really did feel like after the first set that I was in most of his serve games and that makes it tough to stomach.”
After two shoulder surgeries wiped out two years of his career, the affable Queenslander has dragged his ranking from outside the top 1000 to 72nd in the world in a season highlighted by his run from Wimbledon qualifying to the second round.
But he still departed Flushing Meadows feeling defected.
“I set a high benchmark here,” he said.
“I definitely would have liked to have won a round or two here to see how I progressed from there.
“Obviously that makes it disappointing when you don’t get through.
“To have these experiences to get my ranking to where it is has been great.
“But the key thing is, when you get there, you want to make the most of it. Today was just frustrating.”
Millman also knows he missed an opportunity to impress Davis Cup captain Wally Masur ahead of Australia’s semi-final this month with Great Britain in Glasgow.
The 26-year-old travelled to Darwin with Australia’s squad for the quarter-final win over Kazakhstan and is on Masur’s radar.
“Everyone knows that we’ve got a pretty important tie coming up and everyone knows there’s a lot to play for,” Millman said.
“Losing probably didn’t do my chances too good.
“But Sergiy’s a good player. He’s had wins over Wawrinka and Federer. He’s not a bunny.
“So I had to play very well today to win and I was pretty close.”