It was just a week ago we wondered if the first major of the year could capture some of its old weirdness, give us some upset or an underdog that moves past the best players in the world and into tennis glory.
We have our first udnerdog story in the 117th-rated player in the world, Denis Istomin from Uzbekistan, knocking out the world’s second-ranked player, and maybe the greatest winner in the history of this Grand Slam. Istomin defeated his Djokovic 7-6 (8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the second round of the year’s first Grand Slam. He took a little under five hours to finish what stands as one of the biggest upsets in Australian Open history.
“So much emotion on my mind,” Istomin said, obviously still shocked. “I cannot hold it.”
It is the first time since 2002 a number two seed fell in the 2nd round or earlier. For Djokovic, it sets up questions about where one of the most dominant players goes from here. Up until today, Melbourne Park was his, much like the top seed in the world used to be last year until he was unseated by Andy Murray. Djokovic was in search of his seventh Australian Open crown.
“Take my bags and I go home,” Djokovic said. “Lessons are always learned every single day, not just when you lose.”
Even following the upset, there is still plenty of star power left in the Slam. Roger Federer has looked sharp, easily managing his competition to the third round on his way. The top-ranked player, Murray, is the favorite to win the whole thing even after hurting his ankle.
Yet the Djokovic upset does leaves people wondering if the Australian Open still has some other odd moments to give us this year.