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Thursday, 19 January 2017 09:17 AM GMT
Australian Open Day 4: Istomin stuns Djokovic as Radwanska falls rounds up the action from Day 4 at the 2017 Australian Open. READ MORE

The tennis world shifted on its axis on Thursday with one of the biggest shocks in recent history at the Australian Open. 

Novak Djokovic, six times the champion and until recently, as dominant as anyone has been in men’s tennis, was dumped out in the second round by Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, ranked 117 in the world, who – it almost goes without saying - played the match of his life.

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska was also upended by Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia but the defeat of Djokovic caused ripples around Melbourne Park.

It is the first time Djokovic has lost this early in a Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2008, and is yet more evidence that he is not the player who topped the rankings for much of the past three years before being usurped by Andy Murray at the end of last year.

Watching Djokovic dig himself out of difficult holes has become so commonplace in recent years, but just as at Wimbledon last summer, when he was ousted by Sam Querrey in the third round, he was flat and unable to find that extra level when he needed it.

In warm but not overly hot conditions, Istomin, who until Thursday was most famous for the fact that he is coached by his mother, played beautifully throughout, not withering when he missed two set points for a two sets to love lead and not fading when Djokovic led by two sets to one.

When Istomin served for the match he was strong and only his third ace of the match sealed by far his best ever win. To think he was down three match points in the Australian Open playoff semi-final last month.

“First of all I feel sorry for Novak,” Istomin said. “I was playing so good today. I surprised myself as well today, I want to thank my team – Mum, we do a good job. I have so much emotion on my mind, I cannot hold it.”

The first game lasted 16 minutes, which left Djokovic joking that he and Istomin should just go straight to the tiebreak.

Proceedings didn't get much quicker; the first set lasted an hour and 27 minutes, and the pair finally clocked off after four and a half hours, their encounter packed with long, tough rallies. Afterwards, Djokovic was strangely philosophical.

“It was one of these days when you don't feel that great on the court, don't have much rhythm, and the player you're playing against is feeling the ball very well,” he said.

“All the credit to Denis for playing amazing. He deserved to win. No doubt, he was a better player in the clutch moments. He stepped it up, played aggressive. Served very well, very precise. There's not much I could do.

"Of course, I was not pleased with my performance overall. But, you know, I have to congratulate my opponent today.”

(Other) shock of the day 

Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni went 18 years between wins at the Australian Open, but on Thursday she took out third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland with a stunning 6-3, 6-2 win. “It’s amazing, it’s been so long since I won two matches in Australia. As I’m getting older it seems I am getting better.”

Around the ground

Djokovic’s defeat blows a hole in the bottom half of the draw, offering a big chance for someone else to make the final, and third seed Milos Raonic and sixth seed Gael Monfils made no mistakes, beating Gilles Muller and Alexandr Dolgopolov respectively.

Ivo Karlovic recovered well from his first-round marathon to beat Andrew Whittington of Australia in straight sets, while Grigor Dimitrov and Sascha Zverev also won.

Karolina Pliskova, last year’s US Open runner-up, looked in ominous form as she advanced to the third round for the loss of just two games, while former runner-up Dominika Cibulkova also progressed.

Konta marches on

There is no stopping Jo Konta at the moment, it seems. The ninth seed, a semi-finalist here last year, beat the rising Japanese star Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-2. She’ll play former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the third round, with the Dane beating Donna Vekic in straight sets. 

Comeback of the day

Not a match comeback but a comeback to tennis. Australian Casey Dellacqua returned to the Tour for the first time in nine months after battling to overcome concussion, having suffered in a fall on court in late 2015. Dellacqua partnered Ash Barty to a first-round doubles win.

Quote of the day

"My heart is so have no idea." At the age of 34, an emotional Lucic-Baroni was clearly overjoyed with one of the wins of her career.

Tweet of the day

Scotland’s Ali Collins qualified for the main draw of the junior event at Melbourne Park on Thursday and unsurprisingly, it didn’t go unnoticed by one famous mother.

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