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Novak Djokovic’s hopes of a seventh crown at the Australian Open will be tested when he faces Uzbek Denis Istomin in the second round of the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne.
Defending champ Djokovic is off to an impressive start for his Australian Open 2017 campaign after defeating Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in their opening round match, 6-1 7-6(4) 6-2. The Serb, who has already faced Verdasco earlier this month in Qatar, hit 24 winners in a match that lasted for two hours and 23 minutes.
Novak Djokovic will have to win the Australian Open for a record seventh time and hope Andy Murray gets knocked out of before the semi-finals to have a chance of reclaiming the number one ranking. The Serb started his campaign in dominant fashion with a straight set win over Fernando Verdasco in the first round and will face Denis Istomin in the second round.
The Serb came into the first Grand Slam of the year after defending his title at the Qatar Open and is among the favourites for the title at Melbourne Park. He looked comfortable against Verdasco in the first round, an opponent he faced even during his run to the title in Doha two weeks earlier. The Serb controlled the match from the start, and apart from a slight wobble in the second set, he came through 6-1, 7-6, 6-2.
Istomin, on the other hand, needed four sets to see off Ivan Dodig in the first round, and will equal his best ever result at the Australian Open if he pulls off an upset win on Thursday. The Uzbekistan player is playing in his 10th Australian Open and in his five previous attempts against Djokovic, he has not even managed to win a single set.
The 30-year-old, ranked 117 in the world will be odds on favourite to exit the tournament when the duo face each other on Thursday. The winner will face either Pablo Carreno Busta or Kyle Edmund in the third round.