Australian Open Triumph

Denis Istomin Creates History

Denis Istomin achieved at the Australian Open, what he would have dreamed of all this life, from the first time he picked up the tennis racquet. To be on the Center Court and exulting in front of a capacity crowd, win-ning over a top ranked player.
When he finally walked off court after upsetting Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open; which was without any doubt the big-gest win of his career; he must have felt vindicated, at all those years of hard work put in, to get to where he is today.
Denis Istomins stunning 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win over Novak Djokovic in the sec-
ond round of 2017 Australian Open, would be rejoiced by all who know him closely, for a long time to come.
Denis Istomins only win against an ATP top 10 player was against David Ferrer at In-dian Wells in 2012, when he was ranked very low at No. 117. His record read at 1-33 against the top 10 players till his triumph over Novak.
The 30-year-old Uzbek, took nearly five hours, to defeat the six-time tournament winner in a battle which must have been nerve wracking for a player who has sat outside the top 100 for some time.
Novak Djokovic surely must not have wanted to think too much about his second round loss to
a WC entrant.

Before Denis had even started thinking of making to the Aus-tralian Open 2017, his ranking was so low that the 30-year-old had to win the Asian AO Wild Card Play Off tournament in China to secure his spot in the 2017 Aussie Open.
Istomin was nearly forced to give up tennis after a serious car accident in Uzbekistan when he was 14. He was in the hospital for three months and the doctors doubted he would be able to play at the elite lev-el. But two and a half years lat-er, Istomin picked up his racket never to keep it down again.
Istomin, had a 0-5 record against Djokovic before his vic-tory, and it was probably his attitude towards playing a top ranked player, which made him walk past the finish line.

Istomin said in the post-match press conference, If you dont think you have a chance, there is no reason to come on court,
The former World No.1 Djokovic has lost just twice to players out-side the top 100 in the past seven years in the last six months having suffered defeat to no. 145 Juan Martin Del Potro at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Istomin credited his mother a great deal by saying, When your family is part of your team, its great. I was lucky that my mother is coaching me, Istomin went on to defeat Pablo Carreño Busta in the third round, advancing to the fourth where he lost to Grigor Dimitrov, 6 2, 6 7 (2), 2 6, 1 6, having won the first set-comfortably.

Istomin is one of the few top ATP Professional players, along with Janko Tipsarević, to wear glasses while playing (most players either have near perfect eyesight or wear contact lenses).
The other big achievement of an Asian player in the 2017 Australian Open was that of Sania Mirza.
For the effervescent player she is, Sania was certainly ex-pecting to belt another Grand Slam down under.
She had won her first ever Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2009 winning the mixed doubles title with coun-try mate Mahesh Bhupathi. The last of her three Womens Dou-bles Winners trophies also came at the Aussie Open last year with Martina Hingis.
Underdogs Abigail Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal defeated Sania and her Croatian partner Ivan Dodig in the Australian Open Mixed Doubles Final 6-2 6-4 to take the trophy and the winners prize purse.

After pairing up last season, this was the second Grand Slam final for Sania and Dodig who had lost the French Open to Martina Hingis and Leander Paes in 2016.

In the Womens Doubles event, Shuai Peng of China was the other Asian achiev-
er, pairing up with Andrea Hlavackova of Czech Republic.
In their Semi Final encounter Shu-ai and Hlavackova shattered the top-seeded French pair Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovics dreams of lifting the Womens Doubles trophy. Shuai / Hlavacko-va beat Garcia / Mladenovic 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, powering into the Aus-tralian Open doubles final.

In the other Semi Final encoun-ter, Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato of Japan (Below) could not capitalize on their gains, when they lost out to the second seeded pair of Bethanie Mattek-Sands (United
States) and Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic).

In the finals, it was to be the se-conded seeded pair Mattek-Sands (United States) and Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic), who came out as winners of the Womens Doubles GS title, end-ing the challenge of Shuai Peng (China) and Andrea Hlavackova (Czech Republic) (Below with tro-phies) in a rather entertaining finals.

The final score line for Mattek-Sands / Safarova against Shuai / Hlavackova was 7 6 (4), 3 6, 6 3.

We leave you with some pictures of the Asian achiev-ers in the 2017 Aussie Open, and will come back with more coverage of news of Asian players and events soon.
Congratulations to Denis Istomin, Shuai Peng, Sania Mirza, Eri Hozumi & Miyu Kato, for their sizeable achievements in the event.
For all other Asian players, we hope to see them achieve laurels in the days to come and hear more from them.


[2017-02-06]

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