Defending champion Novak Djokovic fell to a shock defeat at the hand of Uzbekistans Denis Istomin in the second round of the Australian Open
In the lead-up to this Australian Open, the winemakers who count themselves among Novak Djokovics corporate backers threw a lavish party. Djokovic didnt even turn up in the end, but a whole bunch of people he didnt know were sent away with crate of the sponsors product. On Rod Laver Arena on Thursday the Serbian ace was far more generous, handing Uzbekistans Denis Istomin one of the most unlikely grand slam upsets in recent memory.
Perhaps handing it to him is the wrong terminology for such an act of physical endurance. When world No117 Istomin finally took it 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, this most epic of victories had stretched across four hours and 48 minutes, sending shockwaves through Melbourne Park.
In the five previous meetings between the pair Istomin had taken only a single set off the six-time Australian Open champion, and claimed only five games in their first five sets against each other. Here the 30-year-old who held a career-high ranking of 33 in 2012 produced some of the tennis of his life to claim the first, fourth and brain-melting final set.