Sometimes underdogs get the upper hand over the favourites on the tennis court.
Tennis is an unpredictable game where anything can happen at any moment. The game can be merciless at times where even the biggest of names can suffer shocking early exits from tournaments. Although there are favorites to win but anything can change in a matter of seconds. Any underdog can come out on top in a matter of seconds and cause an upset.
Just like 2nd seed Naomi Osaka crashed out of Madrid Open on Sunday in the second round against Karolina Muchova. The Czech won the game 6-4,3-6,6-1. Today we take the time to look into such matches which produced some shocking moments in tennis.
5> Serena Williams vs Wang Qiang ( Australian Open 3rd round 2020)
Serena Williams faced off against China’s Wang Qiang in the third round of the Australian Open. The 2nd seeded Serena had made her way into the 3rd round with relative ease. She had won both her games in straight sets. On her opposite end stood the 22nd seed Qiang.
Many would have thought that this would also be an easy victory for the American. But what turned out surprised many in attendance as well as fans around the globe. Wang won the 1st set as Serena overhit her return. Serena however came back in the second set.
The younger Williams sister played some decent groundstrokes to win the match from a tiebreaker. But Serena lost the final set to the aggressive Chinese challenger. The game ended with visibly disappointed Serena walking out from the Rod Laver Arena. The scoreline read 6-4,6-7,7-5.
4> Venus Williams vs Cori Gauff (Wimbledon 1st round 2019)
Venus Williams had one of the most unceremonious early exits in Wimbledon when she lost out in the 1st round to fifteen year old Cori “Coco” Gauff. The hallowed ground of Wimbledon has always been the home of Williams. Venus has won 5 Wimbledon singles titles from here in her glorious career. Unfortunately for her this time around it was not to be.
The teenager defeated the veteran in straight sets 6-4,6-4 to progress through. Ironically the Williams sisters were an inspiration to Gauff growing up so the victory was bittersweet. Venus didn’t herself throughout the match and her play looked labored. The ground that had given her so much returned her empty handed.
3> Rafael Nadal vs Steve Darcis (Wimbledon 1st round 2013)
Rafael Nadal had one of the most shocking early exits in the 1st round of the 2013 Wimbledon final. The 5th seeded Spaniard lost in the 1st round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career. More so by a player who was ranked 130 places below him. His Belgian opponent gave a masterclass on the grass court leaving Nadal disconsolate and broken
Nadal lost the game in straight sets 7-6,7-6,6-4 and had left the fans in shock in one of the most shocking early exits ever. The Spaniard had returned to the tournament after recovering from a knee injury and was hopeful to perform. He was also caught limping in the final set. But Nadal made no excuses and congratulated Steve Darcis. The former two time Wimbledon champion accepted his defeat in a humble manner.
2> Martina Hingis vs Jelena Dokic ( Wimbledon 1st round 1999)
The 1st seed Martina Hingis had a disappointing first round exit in the 1999 Wimbledon. Hingis was completely outplayed and outmatched against her teen opponent Jelena Dokic. The Swiss was the youngest player to win the Wimbledonin 1997. So it was a surprise to see her decimated on the court by an unknown newcomer.
The Aussie wrapped up the game in two sets 6-2, 6-0 and also had a dream run to the quarterfinals. Fans were surprised to see the beloved Hingis lose in such a fashion and that too against a qualifier. Moreover Hingis took an indefinite break from tennis after this loss such was its effect.
1> Steffi Graf vs Lori McNeil ( Wimbledon 1st round 1994)
Nothing surprised the fans more than when three time defending Wimbledon champion crashed out in the first round of the 1994 tournament. The American Lori McNeil achieved this feat as she defeated the German in straight sets 7-5,7-6 to shock the fans.
McNeil had also previously defeated Graf in a WTA Championship match coincidentally that was in the first round as well. Graf was a clear favourite and was looking for a quick and routine win. McNeil had a moderate success record in the past and as such the result of the match took many by surprise.