Defending champion Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Australian Open, beaten 7-6 (8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 by wild-card entry Denis Istomin in a second-round match in Melbourne on Thursday.
Istomin made the vital break in the fifth game of the deciding set. He then held service the rest of the way in the marathon 4 hour, 48-minute match at the Rod Laver Arena.
Denis Istomin feels like he reached a new level! #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/Cdw3eCTGh4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2017
No. 117-ranked Istomin, who dropped out of the top 100 last year, had never beaten a top 10 player at a Grand Slam tournament.
His only previous win in 33 matches against a top 10 player was back in 2012 at Indian Wells, when he beat No. 5 David Ferrer.
Denis Istomin celebrates after upsetting Serbia’s Novak Djokovic on Thursday. (REUTERS)
“It is the biggest win for me. It means so much,” Istomin said. “Now I feel I can play with these guys, and to be with them on the same level.”
In a 15-minute opening game, the six-time champion Djokovic saved six break points. In the second set, he appeared to hyperextend his left leg in the third game, and spent much of the following break stretching it over a chair.
In the 10th game of that set, Djokovic saved two sets points after serving a double-fault.
But Djokovic broke in the following game to lead 6-5, then held his service with four consecutive points to take the set.
Djokovic clinched the third set when he successfully challenged a line call.
Istomin had a set point in the 10th game of the fourth set, then went ahead 5-1 in the tiebreaker before slamming down an ace to send it to a fifth-set decider.