The US Open’s Biggest Upsets
The 2023 US Open brought the curtain down on another epic grand slam season in the world of tennis. Over the course of the last year, we have seen Novak Djokovic cement his legacy as perhaps the finest player to have ever picked up a racket. We also saw his newest rival emerge in the form of talented Spanish youngster Carlos Alcaraz.
Slam season started back in January when the aforementioned Djokovic returned to the Australian Open. He was unable to compete in 2022’s installment of the tournament due to a visa discrepancy and as such, his streak of three straight tournament victories Down Under was snapped by Rafael Nadal. This year however, the Spaniard was stunned in the second round by Michael McDonald, allowing the Serbian star to romp to victory and claim a record-breaking tenth Australian Open crown.
Nadal’s absence was also felt on the clay courts of Paris at the French Open. the King of Clay had to withdraw from the tournament before a ball was served due to a hip injury. That once more opened the door for Djokovic, who proceeded to bulldoze his way through. He managed to defeat Alcaraz in the semifinals before toppling Casper Ruud in the finale to claim victory for just the third time in his career.
The Rise of Carlos Alcaraz
It was clear that young Alcaraz was becoming a force to be reckoned with. He had topped the ATP Rankings all year long and was primed for his breakout moment. However, no one could have anticipated that it would come on the lush grass courts of Wimbledon, were Djokovic reigns supreme.
In a repeat of the French Open semifinals, the Serbian GOAT and the up-and-coming Spaniard would meet once more, this time in the Centre Court showpiece. If you were betting on tennis games throughout the tournament, you’d have noticed that the reigning champion was a 1.50 favorite to win and match Roger Federer’s all-time record of eight titles at the All England Club. However, this proved to be Alcaraz’s breakout moment. The El Palmar-born star would rally after dropping the first set 6-1 to win by three sets to two, toppling Djokovic where no one thought it would be possible.
As all great champions do though, the Serbian returned vigorously. He took full advantage of Alcaraz falling at the semifinal stage in the US Open to defeat Dimitry Medvedev in New York to claim the trophy. And it is with the famed hard courts where we will stay.
Over the years we have seen some shocking results at the US Open. As this year didn’t serve up too many surprises, we decided to take a look at the most shocking upsets at the famed tournament.
Novak Djokovic vs. Stan Wawrinka – 2016 Final
Novak Djokovic was the heavy favorite to win the 2016 US Open final against Stan Wawrinka. The Serbian star was at the beginning of a run that would see him enter the greatest of all-time conversations and was ranked number one in the world, winning in New York City twice before. However, on the day of the final, his Swiss opponent played some of the best tennis of his career to defeat his more illustrious rival in four sets.
Rafael Nadal vs. Lucas Pouille – 2016 Fourth Round
Just as Djokovic was starting his record-breaking run, Rafael Nadal was also being considered one of the greatest tennis players that’s ever lived. However, where Djokovic has provided consistency in abundance over the years, the King of Clay has not. And that was the case once more in the fourth round of the 2016 US Open
There, the Spaniard was defeated by Lucas Pouille in five sets. The Frenchman was ranked 24th in the world and had never made it past the third round of any Grand Slam before. Nadal was such a huge betting favorite going into the match, but the Dunkerque-born star proved to be too strong.
Serena Williams vs. Roberta Vinci – 2015 Semi-Finals
Serena Williams always enters the US Open with plenty of pressure on her broad shoulders. Being an American, the home faithful always pine to see her come out victorious, and that was no different in 2015. At the semifinal stage that year, she was on track to complete the calendar Grand Slam, but Roberta Vinci had other plans. The Italian ranked 43rd in the world, defeated Williams in three sets, shocking the tennis world, who had expected the female GOAT to come out comfortably on top.
Roger Federer vs. Tommy Robredo – 2013 Fourth Round
In the late 2000s, Roger Federer was the undisputed top dog in the tennis world. He had claimed five straight US Open victories as well as a plethora of other Grand Slams. However, as the clock ticked into the 2010s, his stranglehold was challenged by Djokovic, Nadal, and Britain’s Andy Murray. Those three played a game of hot potato with the trophy in 2010, 2011, and 2012, trading it between themselves, each lifting taking their turn in winning the trophy.
In 2013 though, Federer was looking to reclaim his throne. The Swiss superman was in the midst of a career resurgence after claiming success at Wimbledon the year prior, and he was hoping that would propel him to glory at the 2013 US Open. However, he was humbled by Tommy Robredo in the fourth round, with the experienced Spaniard dominating en route to a straight-sets victory.