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1 Response to ao17istomin_djokovic

  1. Voo de Mar says:
    Points won by each set: | 61-60, 34-40, 18-26, 46-41, 27-26 |
    Points won directly behind the serve:
    25 % Istomin – 49 of 194
    25 % Djokovic – 47 of 185

    The biggest upset of the decade due to several factors:
    – Djokovic [2] seemed to be in a great form, having won the first event of the year in Doha snapping Murray’s [1] longest winning streak
    – he was a double defending champion (six AO titles then)
    – he never lost to a player ranked outside the Top 100 at majors (30 y.o. Istomin no. 117)
    – he led 5:0 in H2H vs the journeyman Uzbek, including 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 on the same court seven years before
    – he had a great 5-set record (77%) so even he lost two tie-breaks he should have been expected to prevail in five
    The only circumstance which allows to comprehend what happened is the fact Istomin was also a very good 5-set player (12-7 record, 63%) and had won a similar match against one of the best 5-set players in history, Nicolas Lapentti (2-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6) after the same amount of time, so he knew how to play well under pressure during a physically demanding battle.

    It’s a rarity that the 1st game of the match sets the tone for the rest, but it was the case in that thriller – Istomin got the opening two points with forehand winners and that shot was tremendously working for him to the end. Djokovic survived the opening game after 16 minutes (9 deuces, saved 6 BPs). He led 4:1*, 7:6 & *8:7 in the tie-break which he lost 8/10; in the 2nd set he saved two set points as he trailed *4:5 (15/40) playing his best tennis of the day then (stroke 4 winners in a row). The 4th set could be very similar: Djokovic trailed *1:4, saved a set point at 4:5 and improved from 1:5 to 5:6 in the tie-break – Istomin fired an ace. The Uzbek got the decisive break of the final set at 2-all thanks to a sensational BH down the line and didn’t panic serving the match out: at 30/15 he delivered two unreturned serves to enjoy the biggest win of his career. Looking in retrospect it’s possible that Djokovic was struggling with his right elbow, following that defeat he was playing below his standards for six months and finished the season after Wimbledon ’17 (surgery one year after the Istomin loss).

    # Comparison of Djokovic’s 5-set defeats when he was close to win in 4 sets:
    Wimbledon ’06 (4R): Ancic d. Djokovic 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3… 3 hours 24 minutes… Total points: 138-132… 5 points away
    French Open ’10 (QF): Melzer d. Djokovic 3-6, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4… 4 hours 15 minutes… Total points: 173-169… 5 points away (the last two sets)
    Aus Open ’17 (2R): Istomin d. Djokovic 7-6, 5-7, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4… 4 hours 48 minutes… Total points: 186-193… 3 points away

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