Djokovic Crashes Out of Australian Open After 2nd Round Upset by Istomin
World no 2 Novak Djokovic suffered a sensational upset in the Australian Open when he crashed out to Uzbekistan wildcard Denis Istomin on Thursday. slam
In a continuation of his bizarre slump since claiming the French Open title last year, Djokovic fired 72 unforced errors as he went down 7-6 (10/8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 in the second round, to end his hopes of a seventh Grand Slam title down under.
It is the earliest Grand Slam exit for the defending champion since he lost in the second round of Wimbledon in 2008, and the result blows the draw wide open as the Serb was widely expected to reach the January 29 final, where he was seeded to meet five-time runner-up and reigning no 1, Andy Murray.
“It’s one of these days when you don’t feel that great on the court, don’t have much rhythm, and the player you’re playing against is feeling the ball very well,” a downcast Djokovic said courtside.
Djokovic’s pain was joy for 117th ranked Istomin, who is coached by his mother and has never got beyond the third round in 11 visits to Melbourne Park.
“I feel sorry for Novak, I was playing so good today,” he said. “I surprised myself also.”
Djokovic’s usually vocal Serbian fans were also not a presence, and much of the crowd, sensing an upset, was behind Istomin in the fifth set, yelling “Come on Denis!”
When Istomin made a backhand winner down the line to break Djokovic and go up 3-2 in the decider, he let out a roar and the audience stood and roared, too.
And when the Serb’s last ball floated long, the crowd leapt up and cheered as Istomin thrust his arms into the air.
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