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Djokovic crashes out in first round

January 06, 2009 15:43 IST

Novak Djokovic's preparations for the defence of his Australian Open title suffered an unexpected setback on Tuesday when the Serb was knocked out of the Brisbane International in the first round.

The 21-year-old world number three lost his debut match at the brand new Pat Rafter Arena to former training partner Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-4, 6-4.

The result means Djokovic, who claimed his maiden Grand Slam title in Melbourne 12 months ago, may begin this year's tournament on January 19 with only one competitive match under his belt this season.

The top seed was the latest leading player to make an early exit from the co-sanctioned event, joining Marcos Baghdatis, Daniela Hantuchova, Francesca Schiavone and Ai Sugiyama, who were all beaten on Monday.

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