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Australian John Millman upsets Aslan Karatsev to make last eight in St Petersburg Open

Injury-free at last, John Millman is savouring his biggest win of the year after powering past world No.19 Aslan Karatsev 6-3 6-2 to rocket into the last eight of the St Petersburg Open.

Karatsev won the the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last week and was looking to achieve a home one-two.

The Russian also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open and conquered Novak Djokovic in the Serbian’s home tournament in Belgrade.

But the No.4 seed had now answer to Millman, who continued his late-season resurgence to book a place in the quarter-finals for a fourth time from his past five events.

“Look, it’s been really positive the last six, seven weeks,” Millman told AAP after crippling back and foot injuries had curtailed much of his 2021 campaign.

“I’ve gotten more matches underneath my belt and my body’s actually feeling really fit. It’s probably the best it’s been all year.

“I’ve had a bit of a rough year with niggling injuries and slightly more significant injuries but since this indoor swing started, all the way back to the US Open, as I’ve gotten more and more matches up until now and I’ve felt a lot better out on court.

“So it’s really good to knock off Karatsev. He’s obviously one of the more in-form players this year and after winning last week in Moscow he was high on confidence.”

The Queenslander needed just 77 minutes to advance.

Millman now meets an American fifth-seed Taylor Fritz, who defeated compatriot and doubles partner Tommy Paul 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

Fritz, who was celebrating his 24th birthday, said : “It’s never easy playing against a really close friend.”

The winner will face big-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff or second-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

In the other half of the draw, Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp beat rising US talent Sebastian Korda 6-2 7-5 and now faces Russian top seed Andrey Rublev.

Marin Cilic beat Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4 6-7 (7-1) 6-4 and next meets Roberto Bautista Agut, who defeated American Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 6-2.

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