Australian Open (day four): Huge shock as Djokovic crashes out leaving door open for Murray

Defending champion Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Australian Open after falling victim to a stunning five-set defeat at the hands of wild card Denis Istomin.
Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, right, is congratulated by Serbia's Novak DjokovicUzbekistan's Denis Istomin, right, is congratulated by Serbia's Novak Djokovic
Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, right, is congratulated by Serbia's Novak Djokovic

Djokovic was chasing a record seventh title in Melbourne, but his pursuit is over for another year after Istomin, ranked 117th in the world, edged a mammoth contest 7-6 (10/8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-4.

It means after winning four consecutive grand slams between 2015 and 2016, Djokovic has now gone three tournaments without adding to his tally of 12 major triumphs.

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Istomin, meanwhile, goes through to face 30th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in round three.

The 30-year-old has never before gone past the fourth round of a major tournament and this is only his second win in 34 career matches against a top-10 player.

Istomin, however, played the match of his life on Rod Laver Arena, hitting 63 winners, breaking Djokovic four times and showing remarkable resilience when his more distinguished opponent regularly threatened to take hold.

“I’m sorry for Novak,” he said on court. “I was playing so well today. I surprised myself as well.

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“It was a tough third set, I had cramp in my leg, I don’t know how I held it. I was physically normal today.

“It is the biggest win for me, it means so much. It shows I can play with these guys and be on the same level.”

Top seed Andy Murray, who must have been envisaging another final against the Serb, admitted his ankle still felt sore but the Scot was able to practice unhindered as he prepares for his third-round clash with Sam Querrey.

Murray spent an 90 minutes training on Court 17 at Melbourne Park and there was no visible sign of discomfort as he engaged in his usual hitting routine with full-time coach Jamie Delgado.

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The world No 1 was relieved to come through the session unscathed given just over 12 hours before he had rolled over on his right ankle on Rod Laver Arena and tumbled to the floor.

He was able to see out the final six games of his the win over Russia’s Andrey Rublev but admitted afterwards the severity of his injury would become clearer today.

Asked how his ankle felt after practice, Murray said: “It’s just a bit sore today.

“I did roll it pretty badly but, thankfully, I can put weight on it and I was moving around fine in practice just now.

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“It was just a little bit sore at the start and when I got up this morning but once I started moving around it felt all right.”

Murray will hope his ankle continues to heal over the next 24 hours given he plays Querrey, Djokovic’s conqueror at Wimbledon, at 2pm local time on Friday for a place in the last 16.

The American is at least unlikely to extend Murray over long rallies given his strengths lie more in power-hitting, heavy serving and short points, rather than lengthy baseline battles.

No player in the men’s tournament has won a higher percentage of first serve points than Querrey, who has already delivered 40 aces in his opening two rounds. Murray has hit 19.

But no player has a deadlier return than Murray, who boasts an 85 per cent success rate, also the highest in the men’s draw so far.