“I was struggling, he was struggling, we were changing a lot of shirts and we were just trying to hang in there,” said Djokovic, the No. 6 seed and two-time Open champion. “I think this tournament needs to address this. Whether it’s night or day, we don’t have air.”
Djokovic withstood the humidity to dismiss Millman, an unseeded Aussie who had rocked the tennis world by upsetting No. 2 Federer in the fourth round.
“I probably didn’t execute as well in the big moments tonight,” said Millman, who had never beaten a top 10 player before the Federer match. “It’s not easy to play Roger and then Novak.”
Djokovic led by two sets and held a service break in the third when he briefly lost his momentum. He was penalized one serve for not beating the 25-second clock that is new at this Open. The penalty led to Djokovic falling behind 4-3 in the set.
But the 13-time Grand Slam champion pressed the reset button and never lost another game. Djokovic advanced to his 11th straight Open semifinal, second only to Jimmy Connors’ record 13 in the Open era, which began in 1968.
In a bizarre scene in the second set, Millman was allowed to leave the court at 2-2 to change his entire sweat-soaked wardrobe. Normally, an umpire would permit such a change only after odd-numbered games.
Before Millman’s clothing change, Djokovic had complained about not having tablets at his chair, which he apparently needed to cope with the conditions at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Djokovic took a two-set lead by holding serve in the 10th game after Millman double-faulted on break point to lose the ninth. That allowed Djokovic to avoid the trap into which Federer fell against Millman. Federer had led 6-3, 5-4 before his normally indomitable game wilted in the heat and humidity.
In Friday’s semifinals, Djokovic will meet No. 21 Kei Nishikori of Japan