TENNIS DAVIS CUP AUSTRALIA BRAZIL
John Millman has been called many things in his tennis career: giantkiller, journeyman, tenacious.
And now, he's being hailed as an Australian hero.
The humble Millman downplays the description after entering Australia's Davis Cup folklore with stirring comeback victories to steer his country into the finals.
Millman's heroics delivered Australia a 3-1 win against Brazil in the qualifying tie at Memorial Drive in Adelaide.
A day after coming from a set down to win his opening singles rubber, Millman repeated the feat on Saturday to down Brazil's Thiago Monteiro 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-3).
The triumph punches Australia's ticket into the cup finals in November in Spain and leaves captain Lleyton Hewitt in no doubt: Millman is a hero.
"That is what Davis Cup tennis is all about," Hewitt said.
"What a performance. That is going to go down as one of the great weekends in his career."
Millman took the court on Saturday after Australia's doubles team James Duckworth and John Peers fell in a cliffhanger, losing 5-7 7-5 7-6 (8-6) to Marcelo Demoliner and Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves.
Millman recovered after losing the first set on Friday to defeat young gun Thiago Seyboth Wild.
And he the same in an epic Saturday special against Monteiro.
"I always believed," Millman said.
"The body was a little sore; the emotion levels were perhaps a little bit down at times - it's tough to be up the whole time.
"But that is when you have really got to use your bench and use the experience that is Lleyton Hewitt and Tony Roche ... they dragged me up when I was nearly down."
The Australian heaped pressure on early, having eight break points in the Brazilian's initial two service games.
But Monteiro refused to buckle and saved them all, setting a gripping tone en route to taking the first set.
World No.43 Millman, Australia's top-ranked player in the absence of injured duo Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur, claimed the second set with a dominant tie-breaker, banking the initial four points.
Games went on serve in the third, creating a high-stakes tie-breaker which Millman cracked open with scores 3-3.
Monteiro, after being run from pillar to post by his opponent's precise groundstrokes, mistimed a forehand to give the Australian the mini-break.
Millman pounced, with a stretch of four-consecutive points to decide the set, match, the tie and Australia's Davis Cup status.