Top 10 upsets of 2015

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December 9, 2015 11:10 pm

The year 2015 witnessed some wondrous matches in which players gave their top notch performances. But there were some standout performances by ten players that took the tennis fans by surprise, an ultimate shock to those who placed their bets on their favourite player. Here we take a look at the top 10 upsets of the year.

1. Brown vs Nadal

Dustin Brown of Germany shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after winning their match at the Wimbledon

The 14 time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal and the 102 ranked Jamaican-German Dustin Brown stepped on to the court, and the crowd had their favourite decided. But who knew that the pumping urge of Nadal to progress ahead of the 4th round at Wimbledon, after having lost three consecutive early rounds, would shatter once again at the hands of the 30 year old.

Nadal seemed absolutely uncomfortable and Brown more in charge of the game from the get-go. The attacking style of Brown got the better of the Spaniard, and coming to the net often destroyed Nadal’s effective baseline play. To add to it, the crowd seemed restless too, perhaps adding more pressure to Nadal.

Dustin Brown has a dynamic personality, edgy look and feisty competitive spirit. Even John McEnroe and Andrew Castle speculated on how much Brown’s hair must weigh. Once you watch him, you either completely like him or don’t.

Pay great attention to the piece of information next. Brown won 71/99 serve and volley points. Highly respectable. “He was born for this moment,” said McEnroe of Brown, who capitalized every point with quick approach to end points, proving to be effective.

The loss to the 102nd-ranked Brown 7-5 3-6 6-4 6-4, was remarkably Nadal’s fourth-straight Wimbledon defeat to a player ranked in the triple digits.


Also, this is not the only time that the two players played each other. The last time they played in Halle, Brown emerged as the winner in straight sets.

Match Stats Dustin Brown Rafael Nadal
ACES 13 9
WINNERS 58 42
UNFORCED ERRORS 24 15
SERVE AND VOLLEY POINTS 33/51 0/0
TOTAL POINTS WON 131 118

If this isn’t proof enough to the ‘epicness’ of the relatively unknown Dustin Brown, well then the figures on his twitter account, going by the twitter handle ‘@DreddyTennis’, will speak for itself where he gained over 40k followers right in the middle of the match.

‘‘Coming playing the first time on Centre Court. It was awkward. I thought I would freak out a bit. I don’t know if it was the match in Halle but being on the court with him made me feel comfortable. I have nothing to lose playing him’’ is how Brown described his win after the match.

2) Fognini vs Nadal

Image Courtesy- US Open official website

At Flushing Meadows, the Italian Fabio Fognini ousted Nadal, who was already struggling due to his poor form, in a thrilling 5 set match.

This meant Nadal failed to advance past the third round of the US Open for the first time since a third-round exit at the hands of American James Blake in 2005. He didn’t play in the event in 2012 or 2014 and won the event in 2013. This loss ended Nadal’s 151-0 streak in Grand Slam that he had led two sets to none. It also ended Nadal’s record 10-year streak of winning at least one major. The loss left him one year short of the record 11-year streak of reaching at least one major final, a feat only achieved by Lendl and Sampras before.

Nadal started off well by taking the first two sets 6-3 6-4 and the chances of Fognini winning the match were bleak. Given that Fognini had beaten Nadal twice in 2015, first in Rio and then again at Barcelona it was no surprise that the tables turned in the third. The next three sets were a master class by Fognini as he conjured breathtaking shots to take the match 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 . Fognini described his win as a ‘mental triumph’.

Match Stats Fabio Fognini Rafael Nadal
ACES 2 5
WINNERS 70 30
UNFORCED ERRORS 57 18
NET POINTS WON 72% 86%
BREAK POINTS WON 56% 42%
TOTAL POINTS WON 154 152

3) Vinci vs Williams

The doubles specialist Italian Roberta Vinci stunned entire America in the semi-finals of US Open as she dethroned Serena Williams from her quest of winning her second ‘Serena’ slam. The skills and deftness for playing doubles came in handy to the Italian in the most crucial parts of the game. The two players provided the viewers an entertaining two hours of power packed tennis.

The Italian entered the Open on a 7-9 streak and Williams had won 37 consecutive matches against women ranked outside the top 40 before this match. Also, both players are 60 titles apart. The Italian was playing her first Grand Slam semi-final while Serena was playing her 47th.

Despite all odds against her, Vinci prevailed as the winner 2-6 6-4 6-4. The loss ended Serena’s consecutive 33 win match streak at GS.

Match Stats VINCI WILLIAMS
ACES 1 16
WINNERS 19 50
UNFORCED ERRORS 20 40
NET POINTS WON 72% 65%
BREAK POINTS WON 40% 36%
TOTAL POINTS WON 85 93

4) Paîre vs Nishikori

Considering that Nishikori was the finalist at the US Open 2014, the expectations from him were exceedingly high to perform well. Instead, he crumbled in a first round shocker to the 26 year old Frenchman Benoit Paîre. It was the serve that made the difference in the match. Paîre fired thunderous serves that provided him the edge. The match ended 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 in the favour of the unseeded player in just under 3.5 hours. “It was a little bit tough. It was impossible for me to imagine this, beating Nishikori” said Paîre post-match.

Match Stats Paîre Nishikori
ACES 21 3
WINNERS 64 34
UNFORCED ERRORS 67 36
1st SERVE POINTS WON 77% 65%
2nd SERVE POINTS WON 71% 71%
TOTAL POINTS WON 156 160

5) Seppi vs Federer

Second seed Roger Federer suffered a surprise third round defeat despite coming into Australian Open 10-0 ahead head to head against the Italian Andreas Seppi. The shocking defeat came as  6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(5) on Friday in just under 3 hours. This is the earliest Federer has fallen in Melbourne since a third-round defeat in 2001.

Though Federer forced two tiebreakers in the second and fourth set, a few wasted opportunities, untimely errors including a crucial double fault in the final tiebreaker led him to the exit.

Match Stats Seppi Federer
ACES 4 15
WINNERS 50 57
UNFORCED ERRORS 40 55
BREAK POINTS WON 60% 30%
TOTAL POINTS WON 144 145

6) Cibulkova vs Ivanovic


Ana Ivanovic fell to the Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 3-6 6-3 in the first round of US Open. This came as a shock to the fans, especially after Ivanovic’s great run at French Open.

In the decider, Cibulkova gained a comfortable position with a service break in the fourth game of third set for a 3-1 making it 4-1 with a backhand drop shot. From then on there was nothing the former world number 1 could do to revive her game, bowing out from the nearly two hour affair.

Match Stats Cibulkova Ivanovic
ACES 0 6
WINNERS 24 25
UNFORCED ERRORS 28 29
BREAK POINTS WON 65% 45%
TOTAL POINTS WON 85 86

7) Johnson/Querrey vs Bryan Brothers

The Bryan brothers, considered to be the most successful doubles team, lost the opener of US Open in front of their home crowd. The top seeds toppled under another American pair of Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson.
It was only their second loss in the first round of a major since 2001. It was also the first season since 2004 that the Bryans didn’t win at least one major title.

The winners put up a decent serve game against the Bryan brothers who were unable to cope up. The match ended
7-6 5-7 6-3.

Match Stats Querrey/Johnson Bryan/Bryan
ACES 16 4
WINNERS 72 46
UNFORCED ERRORS 27 19
TOTAL POINTS WON 118 110

8) Richard Gasquet vs Stan Wawrinka

The high intensity, action packed QF match at Wimbledon ended with Gasquet emerging as the winner 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 that lasted 3hrs 28min.

The stunning encounter between the two seemed predictable at first but got more intriguing with every passing point. It was an absolute treat to watch two beautiful single handed backhands. All eyes were on Wawrinka, the newly crowned French Open winner, hence his loss came as a shocker.

Match Stats Gasquet Wawrinka
ACES 6 22
WINNERS 46 73
UNFORCED ERRORS 24 48
TOTAL POINTS WON 165 158

9) Anderson vs Murray


Andy Murray suffered his earliest Grand Slam loss for five years at the hands of the South African Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-0) in four hours and 18 minutes.

The two players came into the tournament after facing each other earlier at Queen’s Club final where Murray lifted the trophy.
With the win, the head to head tally between them is 5-2, Murray leading by 5. The former US Open winner failed to overpower the dominance of Anderson.  It is also the best match that Anderson has ever played hands down.

Match Stats Anderson Murray
ACES 25 19
WINNERS 81 49
UNFORCED ERRORS 57 20
TOTAL POINTS WON 167 152

10) Djokovic vs Nadal

Rafael Nadal was beating only the second time at Roland Garros.

The ‘clay king’ Rafael Nadal was denied of a shot at his 10th French Open title by Djokovic, becoming only the second player to do so after Robin Soderling. Nole dethroned Nadal in straight sets with the score 7-5 6-3 6-1. With the win, Djokovic went on to reach the finals. But, he lost to the maiden finalist Stan Wawrinka.

Match Stats Djokovic Nadal
ACES 3 3
WINNERS 45 16
UNFORCED ERRORS 30 30
TOTAL POINTS WON 102 71

 

Shivanjali Kumar

I am pursuing B.Sc.(Hons.) Mathematics from Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University. I am an avid follower of tennis and enjoy watching cricket as well. My interest lies in portrait sketching and swimming.

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