Australian Open defending champion and no. 2 player in the world Novak Djokovic lost a five-set thriller march in the second round. No. 117 player Denis Istomin defeated him in 4 hours and 48 minutes, with the score 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4. This unfortunate event marks the first time Djokovic (29-years old) has lost in the second round of a Grand Slam tournament since 2008’s Wimbledon.
An unexpected result
The six-time Australian Open winner struggled since the beginning of the match. He later said that he could not find his rhythm. This is just the second time in seven years when Djokovic has been defeated by a player which is not in the top 100. The other time was not long ago, just last year, at the Rio Olympics when Juan Martin del Potro beat him. During the after-match press conference, Novak Djokovic admitted that his opponent was better than him and that he could not feel his game at all.
This unexpected result leaves the door open for no. 1 player in the world, Britain’s Andy Murray, who never won an Australian Open before. He previously lost five finals at this tournament. In four of them, Djokovic himself defeated him. So, the nemesis is out. However, things will not be so simple for Murray either, who still has some worthy opponents who might challenge him. Among them are Canadian and world no. 5 Milos Raonic and a revamped no. 15 Grigor Dimitrov, who just won Brisbane.
The match of a lifetime
As for Denis Istomin, he said that this was the biggest win of his entire career. His own family could not believe that he managed to beat one of the legends of tennis. He said that even if he had some cramps in his leg during the match, he managed to hold it together and seal the deal. Last year, Denis Istomin fell out of the top 100 and now received a wild-card for Australian Open which he almost lost, because it was decided in a match. Back in 2001, he had to stop playing tennis for two years after he broke his leg in a car accident. His coach is his own mother, Klaudiya. His best results in the Grand Slam tournaments were the last 16 round at Wimbledon 2012 and at US Open 2013.
He is reportedly a huge star back at home in Uzbekistan. Everybody knows his name and watches his matches. Now, after he beat Novak Djokovic, the Tennis Federation of Republic of Uzbekistan could not cope with the huge amount of congratulation phone calls. It seems like he has made an entire country proud.
As for Djokovic, he began having difficulties after he won his first French Open last year. Then, he lost in the third round to American Sam Querrey at Wimbledon. Del Potro beat him in the first round at the Rio Olympics. He then also lost the US Open final to Stan Wawrinka, in four sets. Moreover, he also lost the ATP World Tour Finals title along with the no. 1 spot. This year began nicely, with the Doha title which he won after beating Andy Murray in the final. Still, it seems like things are still not right for the great champion. We will see what will happen in the following months.
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