We’ve taken a look at the top five biggest upsets in the history of the Grand Slam as we edge closer to the Women’s and Men’s finals this weekend
Pete Sampras Lost to George Bastl in the Second Round, 2002
There’s a reason they call Court No. 2 at the All England Club the “graveyard of champions.” And in the second round of the 2002 Wimbledon, Pete Sampras learned this the hard way. Despite rallying from a two-set deficit, Sampras would ultimately fall 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4 to Switzerland’s George Bastl. Considering Bastl ranked No. 145 in the world at the time, something tells us Sampras didn’t see this upset coming.
Lucas Rosol Beat Rafael Nadal in the Second Round, 2012
This second-round match was one of the biggest upsets of Nadal’s illustrious career. Between 2006 to 2011, he reached the Wimbledon final on four occasions, winning the title twice in 2008 and 2010. Nadal, winner of 11 major titles and seeded No 2 for that year’s championships was fresh from winning the French Open and on a great run of form. Rosol was ranked No 100 in the world and making his Wimbledon debut, surely there was only one winner. Five thrilling sets later, Rosol had defeated Nadal 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 and achieved what he himself described, as a “miracle.”
Sabine Lisicki Beat Serena Williams in the 2013 Fourth Round
Coming off her second title at Roland Garros, defending champion Serena Williams arrived in London hoping to win her sixth Wimbledon title. Williams meant business and arrived in the second week having dropped only 11 games. But she knew she was up against an inspired opponent when Sabine Lisicki took the opening set of their fourth-round encounter 6-2.
The World No. 1 responded by winning nine games in a row, restoring parity and going up a break in the third. But Lisicki refused to go away, twice recovering from a break down in the decider to seal one of the biggest wins of her career. With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal enduring early exits at the tournament, in 2013 Wimbledon saw another high-profile player bite the dust when Lisicki downed Williams. Buoyed by her win over Williams, Lisicki made an inspired run to the final but ran out of steam against Marion Bartoli.
Roger Federer Lost to Sergiy Stakhovsky in the Second Round, 2013
It’s highly unusual to see the great Roger Federer get eliminated during the early rounds of a Grand Slam tournament. Yet, during the 2013 Wimbledon, the Swiss superstar suffered a second-round loss — his earliest Grand Slam exit in 10 years — to Sergiy Stakhovsky, the No. 116-ranked player in the world. Poor, Roger. We remember when you were unbeatable. How the mighty have fallen.
Ivo Karlovic Defeated Lleyton Hewitt in the First Round, 2003
Defending champion Lleyton Hewitt could never have prepared for what awaited him when he strode out to Centre Court to open his title defence against little-known Croat Ivo Karlovic in 2003. Karlovic looked daunted by the occasion as he dropped the opener 6-1 but grew in confidence as the match wore on. Hewitt arrived within a point of a two-set lead at 5-4 on Karlovic’s serve, only to squander the opportunity.
After surviving that game, Karlovic restored parity by taking the second set in a tiebreak and did not look back. Raining down aces and blistering service winners, the 6’11” world no. 203 sent Hewitt packing in four sets, marking the first instance in the Open Era of a defending men’s singles champion losing in the first round at Wimbledon.
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