Novak Djokovic made a shock exit from the 2017 Australian Open second round on Thursday after world-ranked No. 117 Denis Istomin stunned the competition’s second seed 7-6(8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 at the Rod Laver Arena.
Istomin toppled his foe over five entertaining sets and will face Roberto Bautista Agut in the next stage of the competition, joining seeded stars such as Milos Raonic, Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils in making his way to the third round:
BREAKING: Novak Djokovic crashes out of #AusOpen after 7-6, 5-7, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 defeat to Denis Istomin in second round pic.twitter.com/uoLrzFCg4F
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) January 19, 2017
Nadal was knocked out of last year’s Australian Open in the first round but is swiftly going about making up for that shock exit and looked impressive en route to a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 drubbing of Marcos Baghdatis.
The Spaniard ended his 2016 season prematurely due to a wrist injury, per the ATP World Tour website, but his return to fitness was celebrated by the Liverpool Echo‘s Andy Kelly after a strong second-round outing on Thursday:
Nadal looking brilliant in Australia. Timing, power, movement. Great to have him back!
— Andy Kelly (@AndyK_LivNews) January 19, 2017
In the women’s competition, Serena Williams beat Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-4 to advance but won’t be joined by third seed Agnieszka Radwanska after she suffered a straight-sets defeat to Croatian veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
It was a mixed day for Great Britain, meanwhile, as Kyle Edmund and Heather Watson fell out of the tournament, meaning Johanna Konta’s 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Naomi Osaka provided the day’s only silver lining for the Brits.
Edmund fell to Pablo Carreno Busta 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in what was a commanding display from the Spaniard, while Watson led Jennifer Brady before slipping to a 6-2, 6-7(3), 10-8 defeat.
Read on for a roundup of Thursday’s second-round action from the 2017 Australian Open as Djokovic became the biggest early departure from the competition.
|(18) Richard Gasquet bt. Carlos Berlocq||6-1, 6-1, 6-1|
|(30) Pablo Carreno Busta bt. Kyle Edmund||6-2, 6-4, 6-2|
|(32) Philipp Kohlschreiber bt. Donald Young||7-5, 6-3, 6-0|
|(6) Gael Monfils bt. Alexandr Dolgopolov||6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-0|
|(24) Alexander Zverev bt. Frances Tiafoe||6-2, 6-3, 6-4|
|(13) Roberto Bautista Agut bt. Yoshihito Nishioka||6-2, 6-3, 6-3|
|(21) David Ferrer bt. Ernesto Escobedo||2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2|
|(25) Gilles Simon bt. Rogerio Dutra Silva||6-4, 6-1, 6-1|
|(3) Milos Raonic bt. Gilles Muller||6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4)|
|(20) Ivo Karlovic bt. Andrew Whittington||6-4, 6-4, 6-4|
|(11) David Goffin bt. Radek Stepanek||6-4, 6-0, 6-3|
|(15) Grigor Dimitrov bt. Chung Hyeon||1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4|
|Denis Istomin bt. (2) Novak Djokovic||7-6(8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4|
|Benoit Paire bt. Fabio Fognini||7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3|
|(8) Dominic Thiem bt. Jordan Thompson||6-2, 6-1, 6-7(8), 6-4|
|(9) Rafael Nadal vs. Marcos Baghdatis||6-3, 6-1, 6-3|
|(21) Caroline Garcia bt. Oceane Dodin||6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4|
|Nicole Gibbs bt. Irina Falconi||6-4, 6-1|
|(16) Barbora Strycova bt. Andrea Petkovic||6-0, 7-5|
|(9) Johanna Konta bt. Naomi Osaka||6-4, 6-2|
|(17) Caroline Wozniacki bt. Donna Vekic||6-1, 6-3|
|(30) Ekaterina Makarova bt. Sara Errani||6-2, 3-2 (Retired)|
|(6) Dominika Cibulkova bt. Su-Wei Hsieh||6-4, 7-6(8)|
|Jennifer Brady bt. Heather Watson||2-6, 7-6(3), 10-8|
|(14) Elena Vesnina bt. Mandy Minella||6-3, 6-3|
|(5) Karolina Pliskova bt. Anna Blinkova||6-0- 6-2|
|Jelena Ostapenko bt. (31) Yulia Putintseva||6-3, 6-1|
|(22) Daria Gavrilova bt. Ana Konjuh||6-2, 1-6, 6-4|
|(12) Timea Bacsinszky bt. Danka Kovinic||6-1, 7-6(5)|
|(2) Serena Williams bt. Lucie Safarova||6-3, 6-4|
|Mirjana Lucic-Baroni bt. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska||6-3, 6-2|
|Maria Sakkari bt. (28) Alize Cornet||7-5, 4-6, 6-1|
Istomin Hands Djokovic Shock Exit
It took five lung-busting sets in total, but Istomin battled to seal a 7-6(8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over Djokovic on Thursday and claim his first-ever win against the Serbian superstar after five unsuccessful attempts, per SteveGTennis.com.
Djokovic came to Melbourne this year with a third successive Australian Open crown in his sights, but his 2017 suffered a serious setback as SportsCenter confirmed an unenviable career first for the former No. 1:
Novak Djokovic’s loss to Denis Istomin is his 1st loss to a player outside of the top-100 at a major tournament (33-0 entering the match). pic.twitter.com/dQ2ndIw3nE
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 19, 2017
There was no secret weapon to Istomin’s success other than perseverance, and it was Djokovic whose errors actually fuelled his own surprise departure, committing nine double faults to his foe’s three, per the IBM Slamtracker.
As ever, Nole was gracious in defeat and conceded his opponent was better on the day when addressing the media in his post-match press conference, via the official Australian Open Twitter account:
#Djokovic press conference “he was better” #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/PRULPn33TY
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2017
Istomin carries on to set up a fourth-round match opposite No. 30 seed Carreno Busta, while Djokovic has recorded his earliest exit from the Australian Open since finishing in the first round in 2006.
One figure who will be glad to see the back of Djokovic is top seed Andy Murray, who now stands a much brighter chance of clinching a maiden Australian Open title in Melbourne, having been beaten by Nole in four of his five final appearances.
Williams Advances, Radwanska Crashes Out
PAUL CROCK/Getty Images
Williams beat Safarova in straight sets on Thursday.
Safarova failed in her attempts to topple Williams for the 10th time in her career on Thursday, where several collapses in clutch situations ultimately saw the Czech pay the price against a foe who doesn’t tolerate such mistakes.
While Williams committed 23 unforced errors to Safarova’s 16, per the IBM Slamtracker, it was the former who punished those offences more severely, and it was ultimately an overhit forehand that sealed the latter’s fate:
Serena #Williams through to the third round! #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/Xg0C7YRHcp
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2017
American Nicole Gibbs will face Williams in the third round after she beat Irina Falconi 6-4, 6-1 on Thursday, although the odds seem stacked against her following a confident second-round display from the world No. 2.
Like Murray, Williams also saw one of her biggest rivals for the title fall by the wayside after Radwanska was soundly beaten by Lucic-Baroni, who despite being 34, felt like breaking new territory in Melbourne, per ESPN Tennis:
World No.79 Lucic-Baroni notches just her 3rd #AusOpen match win, defeating No.3 seed Radwanska 6-3 6-2 in 62 minutes. pic.twitter.com/eY1YM5AZfI
— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) January 19, 2017
It was Lucic-Baroni who committed the greater share of unforced errors on Wednesday—20 to Radwanska’s eight—but the Croat trounced her rival in receiving points won, beating the third seed 31 to 18 in that regard.
In the end, Lucic-Baroni timed her runs better and, perhaps most importantly, utilised her energy more efficiently, breaking Radwanska on six occasions across the two sets while conceding just two of her own.