Novak Djokovic crashes out of Australian Open after stunning Denis Istomin defeat

Novak Djokovic has crashed out of the Australian Open after an epic battle with Denis Istomin.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 19: Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan celebrates in his second round match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day four of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The world No. 2 is a six-time champion in Melbourne and had won the event in five of the last six years but he was downed 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

Istomin pushed the defending champion throughout and eventually found a way through to hand Djokovic his earliest exit here since 2006 in a match that lasted close to five hours.

The first set lasted an incredible one hour and 25 minutes, with Istomin playing at an unbelievably high level.

Djokovic largely matched him and the pair played out a very high level of tennis throughout the opener.

The Uzbek saved a couple of set points in a dramatic tiebreak at the end of the first, before taking it 10-8.

There was no dip in quality from Istomin for the majority of the second set, with Djokovic struggling to find the answers.

Istomin engineered two set points with Djokovic serving at 4-5 but the Serb showed exactly why he’s a 12-time Grand Slam champion with some stunning tennis to save the break points, break Istomin and then serve the set out 7-5.

From that point on, Djokovic took control, securing a double break and the third set 6-2.

Just when Istomin appeared to be tired and with the match seemingly over, the Uzbek broke and stormed to a 3-0 lead in the fourth set.

But the Serb stuck with him and rallied back to 4-4.

In a match where the momentum just kept swinging, it was perhaps no surprise to see Istomin recover and win the tiebreak and take the match into a decider.

However, it was a great surprise to see him get the break and keep his nerve in what will go down as the greatest win of his career!

Istomin will face Pablo Carreno Busta in the next round after the Spaniard knocked Kyle Edmund out.

In the same half of the draw, Milos Raonic booked his place in the third round with a straight sets win over Gilles Muller.

Richard Gasquet also set up an intriguing third-round tie with Grigor Dimitrov, where two of the game’s best one-handed backhands will go head-to-head.


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