Breaking: Australian Open 2017 Shocker: Novak Djokovic Knocked Out By World Number 117 Dennis Istomin
Defending champion Novak Djokovic suffered a shock defeat by world number 117 Denis Istomin in the second round of the Australian Open.
The six-time winner struggled for consistency and lost 7-6 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in four hours and 48 minutes.
It is the first time Djokovic, 29, has lost in the second round of a Grand Slam since 2008 at Wimbledon.
The result leaves world number one Andy Murray as the favourite to secure the title for the first time in Melbourne.
Uzbek Istomin will next face Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, who beat Britain’s Kyle Edmund on Thursday.
It is only the second time in seven years that Djokovic has lost to a player ranked outside the top 100 – his defeat by Juan Martin del Potro, ranked 145th, at the Rio Olympics in 2016 the other occasion.
Djokovic, who has beaten Andy Murray in four of the Briton’s five final defeats in Melbourne, could not find his rhythm, losing his first service game in 15 minutes and he went on to lose the first set in one hour and 25 minutes.
He won four consecutive games in the third set as his opponent faltered but Istomin came back in the fourth set to take it to a tie break.
Both players served aggressively as they received vocal support from the crowd, with Istomin taking the match to a deciding set with a brutal ace.
Istomin, who broke in game five, remained strong on his own serve and raised his arms to the crowd after Djokovic sliced his final shot into the net.