Djokovic unruffled despite Brisbane shock lossJanuary 6th, 2009 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS
Brisbane, Jan 6 (DPA) Novak Djokovic’s upcoming defence of his Australian Open title was plunged into chaos Tuesday as the Serb crashed out 4-6, 4-6 against Latvia’s Ernests Gublisin in his opening match at the Brisbane International tennis.The world number three was upset in his first match of the season and now has no chance this week of gaining ranking ground on Roger Federer, who is competing in Doha.
But while Djokovic admitted his arrival only last weekend in Australia after spending New Year’s eve in Monte Carlo may have backfired, he’s far from panic stations.
“I didn’t get a lot of practise because I came too late, I also didn’t feel fresh on the court,” he said. “It’s not the end of the world. It’s the first match.
“I’m not panicking, and I’m not in big doubt. The Australian Open is my highest goal at this time of the year, I really want to play well there. I have plenty of time to prepare.”
Djokovic has the option of taking a wild card at next week’s Medibank International in Sydney to get some matches or heading straight to Melbourne to prepare for the Jan 19, the start of the Grand Slam, on his own.
Gulbis earned his first win over the top seed Serb after losing to him at the French Open and Cincinnati Masters last year.
Djokovic lasted just 88 minutes, with world number 53 breaking in the fifth game of the opening set to start his roll to victory.
The Latvian emerged the steadier after four breaks to start the second set, recovering from a break down with a break-back in the ninth game before claiming victory on the first of three match points with his fourth ace of the afternoon.
Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych advanced to the second round as he crushed Australian hopeful Brendan Klein 6-0, 6-4, adding to the run of losses for the host nation over the opening two days at the new event.
A pair of Frenchman moved through, with Paul-Henri Mathieu defeating Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia 6-3, 6-3 and Florent Serra knocking former French Open winner Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).
Croatia Mario Ancic outlasted American Amir Delic 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (8-6); rising Japanese Kei Nishikori defeated Bobby Reynolds 6-3, 6-2.
On the women’s side, second seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus opened with a win against Slovak Jarmila Gajdosova 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.
Wimbledon 2007 finalist Marion Bartoli spent 90 minutes in stopping Hungarian Melinda Czink 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.