Aus Open: Istomin stuns Djokovic in five-set marathon

Denis Istomin pulled off the biggest win of his career as he felled World No. 2 Novak Djokovic 7-6(8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

Denis Istomin

Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin is fired up after winning a point against Novak Djokovic.   -  AP

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic suffered an incredible five-set loss to Denis Istomin in a huge upset in the Australian Open second round.

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The two-time defending champion at Melbourne Park was stunningly beaten 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 by Istomin in remarkable match on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

 

The loss marked Djokovic's earliest Grand Slam exit since Wimbledon 2008 as he was outdone by a red-hot Istomin in four hours, 48 minutes

The 12-time Grand Slam champion was below his best against Istomin, a player he had beaten relatively comfortably in their previous five meetings. Istomin, the World No. 117 who won the Asia-Pacific wildcard play-off to earn a place in Melbourne, defied his ranking with a display of incredible shot-making.

READ: >Istomin: 'Feel sorry for Novak'

The opening game took 16 minutes in a sign of things to come, but Djokovic had to come from a break down to force a tie-break in the first set.

Read: >Nadal sweeps Baghdatis aside in straight sets

Djokovic took a 4-1 lead before giving up his advantage, Istomin converting his second set point as he forced his illustrious opponent into an error. Istomin crushed 27 winners in the first set and a drop in level was expected – and came, albeit minor.

READ: >Prajnesh Gunneswaran: Istomin's lucky charm?

A wobbly Djokovic faced two set points in the 10th game and Istomin would rue those missed chances, the former holding then breaking before closing it out to level the match. The third set was more like what was expected beforehand as the Serbian took control, only to give it up by quickly falling behind 3-0 in the fourth.

WATCH: >Istomin stuns champion Novak Djokovic

Brilliant defence, followed by a down-the-line winner, helped Djokovic break back before Istomin netted a forehand on set point in the 10th game.

But the Uzbek would not be denied in the tie-break, a huge ace out wide forcing a decider.Istomin broke for a 3-2 lead in the fifth with yet another screaming winner, a backhand down the line giving him the advantage.

The extraordinary win, which set up a clash against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round, was completed with few nerves, Istomin serving out the match to 15.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Istomin bt Djokovic [2] 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Istomin – 63/61
Djokovic – 68/72

ACES
Istomin – 17
Djokovic – 14

BREAK POINTS WON
Istomin – 4/14
Djokovic – 6/15

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Istomin – 69
Djokovic – 58

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Istomin – 70/45
Djokovic – 72/55

TOTAL POINTS
Istomin – 186
Djokovic – 193