Millman savouring best Open show

Bernard Tomic and John Millman are both Queenslanders, both right-handers and both in the last 32 at the Australian Open.

But that’s about where the comparisons end.

The pair will meet on Saturday for a fourth-round berth at Melbourne Park.

Tomic, the Australian No.1, is a Gold Coaster that spends his days in Miami and Monte Carlo.

The world No.17 graduated with two junior slam titles to establish himself on the ATP tour and this week plays in his 24th slam.

Millman is a battler from Brisbane enjoying a career-best week already.

In just his fifth major appearance, he has reached the third round for the first time and is lapping it up.

The big stages at Melbourne Park represent a change of pace to the second-tier circuit that the 26-year-old is used to and he’s hoping this week can launch his year.

“It’s probably a breakthrough win,” he said of his second-round triumph over Gilles Muller.

“For me, it’s been a lot of toil. It’s been hard work.

“It’s unchartered waters for me, winning a five-setter.

“I guess that’s why you live, don’t you? To experience those moments, to experience that type of atmosphere. It was pretty special.”

Toppling Tomic will be a tough ask for Millman, who until Thursday night had only beaten one man ranked in the top 75.

The gulf in class between the two shows up in their pay packets.

Last year, Tomic topped the $1 million mark for prize money; doubling Millman’s career earnings.

Millman will pick up $97,500 if he loses to Tomic, and at least $175,000 if he wins.

The 26-year-old said the cheque meant he could look forward to the season ahead with confidence.

“It’s a massive thing for someone like myself who has really only spent a year in the top 100,” he said.

“It allows you to do it a little bit more properly.

“You can eat a bit better. You can get maybe the quickest connection.

“I’ll still sit at the back of the plane, but I might not spend 12 hours in Singapore or something like that.”

Tomic, who remembered winning twice over Millman as a teenager, hailed the improvement from his friend.

“He’s a huge competitor,” he said.

“He’s playing very, very good. It’s not going to be an easy match.”

The winner will like face Scottish second seed Andy Murray for a quarter-final spot.

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