Top Three Upsets of 2012 in Men’s Tennis

by John on December 2, 2012



Upsets in men’s tennis, especially early round shockers in Grand Slams or Masters events, are what make the men’s game so compelling. Anything can happen. Nothing is for sure. Even among the top players, nerves often contribute to opening round jitters and tentative play. Advancing to the second round invariably brings about a deep sigh of relief. But that accomplishment is no guarantee to smooth sailing in the rounds ahead. There are always gifted floaters, talented journeyman and dangerous up-and-comers lurking in the draw. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga found that out big-time this year. Nadal’s unceremonious dismissal by unknown Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon is my pick as the top upset of the year. The No. 100-ranked Rosol prevailed 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in a match that showed what a journeyman with game can do when he’s on and remains that way for five sets. Rosol played fearless tennis, went for broke on almost every shot and held nothing back. Ranked No. 2 at the time, Nadal had reached the finals in his last five appearances at SW19. Rosol’s win was said to be one of the biggest upsets in the 135-year history of Wimbledon. Next on the upset list is Pole Jerzy Janowicz’s 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-2 third-round triumph over world No. 3 Murray at the Paris Masters. Coming into the tournament ranked No. 69, the 6-foot-8 Polish qualifier showed steely resolve, firing cannonball serves, blasting ridiculous winners from way out of position, and executing deft drop shots to surprise and fluster the Scotsman. “This was the most unbelievable day in my life,” Janowicz, then 21, said afterward. “I beat the Olympic champion, U.S. Open champion. I beat Andy Murray. I could never have expected something like this. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say after the match, this is amazing.” Janowicz ended up beating five Top 20 players in a row before losing to David Ferrer in the final. Slovakian Martin Klizan, ranked No. 52, narrowly took third place on the upset ledger with his 6-4, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 second-round ouster of Tsonga at the U.S. Open. The 23-year-old Klizan had never made it past the second round in three Grand Slam appearances. In fact, he had never defeated a player ranked higher than No. 49. Tsonga was ranked No. 6. Klizan showed more firepower throughout the match than the big-hitting Frenchman. Proving the win wasn’t a fluke, Klizan won his first ATP Tour title three weeks later at Saint Petersburg. Other notable upsets, but not as huge in my opinion, were Tommy Haas over Roger Federer in the Halle final, Michael Llodra surprising Juan Martin del Potro in the third round at the Paris Masters and Ernests Gulbis shocking Tomas Berdych is the first round at Wimbledon.

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