Not all the usual favorites make it past the first week at the most glamorous Grand Slam of the year. Over the years, the US Open has witnessed its fair share of shocking upsets of some of the greatest players, both male and female. As the saying goes “even giants must fall”, let us take a look at some of US Open Biggest Upsets at the Flushing Meadows that left the fans in complete disbelief.
Roberta Vinci beat Serena Williams, Semifinal, 2015
Roberta Vinci has had a successful doubles career which included a 2012 US Open Women’s Doubles Title and clearly was the underdog going into the match against Serena Williams, who was just two wins away from completing the 1st Calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988. The 43rd ranked Italian was all set to play in her first ever Grand Slam singles semifinal in comparison to 47th for Williams and had not succeeded in taking a set from the American in their four previous meetings.
In such a scenario where Serena raced to capture the 1st set, Vinci answered back with a series of slice backhands, flat forehands and a few trips to the net that finally landed her on a triple match point on her own serve. Vinci sealed the victory with a forehand volley winner in a moment that was unimaginable hours earlier.
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Julie Coin beat Ana Ivanovic – Second Round, 2008
Ranked at 188, Julie Coin had never competed in the main draw of a WTA Tournament, let alone in the main draws of a Slam prior to arriving at New York that year and had even considered quitting the sport just a few weeks earlier. But after coming through the qualifying event and winning her first round match, she showed no signs of anxiety or nerves competing against the World No 1 Ana Ivanovic.
Ivanovic seemed to be far from her own self with 34 unforced errors and 8 double faults while Coin’s “go-for-broke” style barely allowed the Serb to get back in the game. The Frenchwoman finally converted her third match point as Ivanovic sent a forehand long and marked the first time in the Open Era when the Women’s Top Seed had failed to advance to the third round at the US Open.
Alexander Volkov beat Stefan Edberg – First Round, 1990
Stefan Edberg was yet to learn how to love the energy at New York as he entered the 1990 US Open as the reigning Wimbledon Champion and a 21 match-winning streak, which was more than enough for the World No 52 Volkov to hope for a flight back home the following the match. But the Soviet southpaw served magnificently in addition to blasting passing shot winners and breaking Edberg twice in the final set. The left-hander finally clinched his victory as the World No 1 netted a forehand.
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Arnaud Clement beat Andre Agassi – Second Round, 2000
The defending champion and top seed, Agassi, was dramatically swept away in the second round of the US Open 2000 by the World No 35 Arnaud Clement. In a thrilling contest which lasted 1hr 43mins, the Frenchman, who had lost in their previous two meetings, finally won on the fifth match point and summed up the contest. Agassi neither wanted any sympathy nor offered any excuse for what is considered as one of the shocking upsets in the history of US Open.
“Just got outplayed”, Agassi reacted after his loss. “You’ve got to give credit where credit is due.”
Linda Ferrando beat Monica Seles – Third Round, 1990
Monica Seles was the player to beat back in 1990 until she decided to change her racket. Even though she had won the event at Los Angeles the week before that year’s US Open, it was becoming evident that she had not got accustomed to her new racket. As a result, she was defeated at the hands of World No 82, Linda Ferrando.
After completely dominating and winning the first set, Seles found the Italian taking over the net, attacking every single point. And in no time, Ferrando was the one dictating the rallies, and even though there was a chance for Seles to turn the tides in the third set, she failed to capitalize on that opportunity and lost the match.
“I never thought she would come back after losing the first set 6-1“, Monica told to the New York press after her match.
Melanie Oudin defeated Maria Sharapova – Third Round, 2009
Maria Sharapova was made to figure out the hard way that she still had loads of work cut out for her while she’s recovering from her right shoulder injury by the World No 70, Melanie Oudin, who was playing in her fourth major tournament. The Russian blasted a whooping 21 double faults in the match in addition to producing 63 unforced errors against the American, who was just 2 weeks shy of her 18th birthday and the obvious crowd favorite at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Sharapova was trying to rebuild her game after spending more than 9 months off the court due to her injury, but all her efforts were squandered as she gave eight service breaks and the match to the young Oudin.
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