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MELBOURNE, Australia – Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic has been upset in a shocking second-round loss to Uzbek wild card Denis Istomin.
Djokovic was aiming to be the first man to win the Australian title seven times, and had won all his previous six head-to-head meetings against Istomin.
It was destined to be a long afternoon on Rod Laver Arena for Djokovic, though, when he needed 24 serves and a quarter of an hour to hold in the first game on Thursday.
After 4 hours and 48 minutes, he sent a service return long to give Istomin a 7-6 (8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win.
No. 117-ranked Istomin, who dropped out of the top 100 last year, had never beaten a top 10 player at a Grand Slam tournament. His only previous win in 33 matches against a top 10 player was back in 2012 at Indian Wells, when he beat No. 5 David Ferrer.
"It is the biggest win for me. It means so much," Istomin said. "Now I feel I can play with these guys, and to be with them on the same level."
Djokovic had won five of the previous six titles at Melbourne Park.