With the 2019 US Open in full swing, we’ve already seen some thrilling tennis on display. From old favourites holding up their end of the bargain to new comers causing some major upsets, the action at Flushing Meadows has had everyone on the edge of their seats.
Tennis is one of the few sports where any player can win on their day. Sure, the top players usually
walk away with the trophy at the end of it all, but combine expectation with the pressure of playing in front of a packed stadium and you have a recipe for an upset. Here are five of the biggest upsets to take place in the US Open.
Dinara Safina beaten by teenager Petra Kvitova, 2009
Image source: youtube.com
The third round of the 2009 US Open would prove to be the round of death as several highly-ranked players were knocked out of the tournament by players seeded either much lower than them, or not seeded at all.
In addition to former champions Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick bowing out of the tournament, number one seed, Dinara Safina, fell to unseeded teenager Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.
Kvitova had nothing to lose and threw everything she had at an anxious Safina and managed to win the first set, 6-4. Safina regrouped and won the second set, 2-6, but Kvivtova would go on to cause a massive upset winning the final set, 7-6.
The Czech wunderkind would go on to lose in the fourth round, but it was the beginning of a long and successful career.
Paul Haarhuis beats Boris Becker, 1991
Image source: usopen.org
Boris Becker went into the 1991 US Open as the number one seed and the favourite to win the whole tournament. That was until he met Paul Haarhuis of the Netherlands.
From the first game Becker looked to be struggling against Haarhuis. His reactions were poor and he appeared to allow the Dutchman to dictate the pace of the entire match.
Everyone in the stadium waited with baited breath for the real Becker to emerge and start dominating his far less experienced opponent, but it wasn’t to be. Haarhuis would go on to knock the number one seed out in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
Andre Agassi defeated by Arnaud Clement, 2000
Image source: tennisworldusa.org
In a season dominated by injury, personal issues and lack of form, somehow American Andre Agassi managed to enter the 2000 US Open as the number one seed. While many were doubtful as to whether he would be able to win the tournament, nobody ever thought he would be knocked out in just the second round.
On the day, Agassi appeared sluggish, slow and disengaged. While his opponent, Frenchman Arnaud Clement, was stretching for 50/50 shots, Agassi stood still and surrendered the point. Throughout the contest it looked as though the American lacked concentration and, at times, appeared not to care.
Marat Safin would go on to win the 2000 US Open title, but questions remained as to whether Agassi let a Grand Slam slip through his fingers.
Belinda Bencic stuns Naomi Osaka, 2019
Image source: thenational.ae
Belinda Bencic pulled off one of the biggest upsets at the 2019 US Open with a 7-5, 6-4 win over top-seeded, defending champion, Naomi Osaka.
The No. 13 seed earned three breaks over two sets to secure a spot in the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for just the second time in her career.
Osaka had been dominant coming into Monday's match. She had straight-set victories in her past two matches and dropped a combined nine games in total.
Many were hoping that the young Osaka and veteran Serena Williams would meet in yet another thrilling final after her controversial win in 2018.
Naomi Osaka beats Serena Williams in a controversial final, 2018
Image source: usopen.org
This match doesn’t really fit the narrative of the rest of the examples above, but it certainly belongs at number one.
After fighting her way to the final, 20-year-old Naomi Osaka would face off against veteran Serena Williams in the 2018 final of the US Open. What followed was both shocking, sad and amazing as Serena Williams went on to experience a meltdown in front of millions of viewers.
Osaka would go on to put a massive amount of pressure on Williams who received a warning from the umpire for receiving advice from her coach on the side line, before having a point deducted for smashing her racquet on court, and then another point for calling the chair umpire a thief.
Osaka would hold her nerve despite everything happening around her and go on to win in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. It would be bitter sweet for Osaka who, for no reason, looked sad to have won the title in such a controversial way.
Regardless of the negative attention, Osaka stamped her authority on the match and would go on to prove that she thoroughly deserves to be one of the best tennis players in the world.
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