MELBOURNE              -          Six-time champion Roger Federer survived an epic five-set marathon to seal his 100th Australian Open win Friday, fending off a huge challenge from John Millman.

The Swiss master was rattled by the all-guns-blazing Australian, but finally scraped past him 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10/8) to stay alive in his quest for a 21st Grand Slam title. Federer was trailing 4-8 in the super tiebreaker of the fifth set (10 points) but he found an extra gear to stun Millman, who looked to be the favourite at the final stages.  This was the former world No 1’s 100th win at Australian Open. Federer came within a whisker of repeating his 2018 US Open upset by Millman as he was taken to five punishing sets by the tough Australian. “Oh God, it was tough,” said Federer. “Thank God it was a super tie-breaker (10 points), otherwise I would have lost this one. It came down to the wire in the end.”

Earlier, defending champion Novak Djokovic cruised into the fourth round while top 10 seeds Stefanos Tsitsipas and Roberto Bautista Agut were knocked out. Second seeded Djokovic swept past past Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in just 85 minutes to reach a Grand Slam round of 16 for the 50th time – second only to Roger Federer’s 67. The win set up a clash with 14th seed Diego Schwartzman for a place in the quarter-finals after the Argentinian beat Djokovic’s countryman Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7).

Sixth seed Tsitsipas was sent crashing out by Milos Raonic in the third round, with the giant Canadian’s power serve doing the damage. The Greek star was no match for his experienced opponent, slumping 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2). His win set up a mouthwatering fourth-round clash against Marin Cilic, who battled past ninth seed Bautista Agut in his five gruelling sets 6-7(3-7), 6-4, 6-0, 5-7, 6-3.

Meanwhile, defending champion Naomi Osaka and eighth seed Serena Williams were sensationally knocked out of the third round. Unseeded 15-year-old Coco Gauff shocked third seed Osaka in straight sets while the 38-year-old by China’s Wang Qiang, torpedoing her bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam crown. The American prodigy followed her win against Venus Williams in the first round by stunning the Japanese player 6-3, 6-4 in their second meeting. Williams, 38, was the favourite to win an eighth title at Melbourne Park but she came unstuck against a determined Wang, losing 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 7-5. Gauff will play 14th seed Sofia Kenin of the United States or China’s Zhang Shuai.

Wozniacki’s glittering tennis career ended when she went down in three, in what could be called another upset. The Danish former world No 1, who announced in December that this would be her final tournament, lost 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in the third round. Alison Riske also made her way to the fourth round on Friday with a three-set victory against Julia Goerges 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-2. She will now face home favourite Ashleigh Barty in the next round. Earlier in the day, world No 1 Barty said she played her best match this year in blowing away 29th seed Elena Rybakina 6-3, 6-2 to barrel into the fourth round.