Australian Open: Wildcard entry Istomin stuns defending champion Djokovic
Melbourne[Australia], Jan. 19(ANI): Defending champion Novak Djokovic crashed out of Australian Open by wildcard entry Uzbek Denis Istomin on Thursday in a five grinding sets match.
The wild card ended Djokovic's 15-match winning streak at Melbourne Park with a 7-6(8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over almost five hours on Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
One of the biggest upsets in Australian Open history, the match marked the first time in seven years Djokovic had even dropped a set in the first week, an even more unlikely occurrence given Istomin had never before taken a set from the world No.2 – having played five times previously, including at Australian Open 2014, for a 0-13 return.
Djokovic has previously once lost to a player ranked outside of the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings over the past seven years – when he fell to No. 145-ranked Juan Martin del Potro in the opening round of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
All this counted for nothing as the pair began trading blows at Rod Laver Arena. The first game alone, on the Djokovic serve, lasted an incredible 16 minutes with the Serb staving off six break points. The arm wrestle continued throughout the opening set with the clean-striking Istomin looking increasingly threatening and eventually drawing first blood in the seventh game.
It was their third meeting at the Australian Open, following 2010 and 2014 clash that both ended in straight sets wins for Djokovic.
Fighting a vanguard battle, Djokovic pressed hard, and a rare flailed forehand from his opponent allowed him back into the set. Fittingly, a tiebreaker ensued – already breaking new ground for Istomin – but despite taking a 4-1 lead, the Serb was unable to capitalise as the Uzbek threw everything at him. It paid off as a loose return from the world No.2 sailed over the baseline handing Istomin – a former world No. 33 – the first set in an hour and 27 minutes.
Istomin now enters the last 32 for the third time, where he meets Spanish No.30 seed Pablo Carreno Busta, a straight-sets winner over Brit Kyle Edmund earlier on Thursday.(ANI)