Wimbledon 2012: 9 Greatest Upsets in Wimbledon History

Will OsgoodAnalyst IJune 29, 2012

Wimbledon 2012: 9 Greatest Upsets in Wimbledon History

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    On Day 4 of the 2012 championships, Wimbledon brought about one of the most shocking upsets in the tournament's storied history. The 100th-ranked player in the world, Czech Lukas Rosol, defeated the world's greatest player, Rafael Nadal, in five very dramatic sets.

    Where does yesterday's incredible upset rank all-time among the upset victories seen at Wimbledon? Click through to find out.

Maria Sharapova over Serena Williams (2004)

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    This upset is probably not quite as big a deal in hindsight, and even then it could have been seen as merely a result that would one day come about—but there should always be a little room for some Maria Sharapova in any tennis article written.

    Though the 13th-seeded player in the tournament, Sharapova was still just 17 years old when she took on two-time defending champion Serena Williams.

    It seemed like a formality that Williams would do what so many great Wimbledon champs had done in the past, which is win three straight.

    But Sharapova had a magical tournament and magical day, as she defeated the presumptive best player in the world at the time to capture her first major title.

Arthur Ashe over Jimmy Connors (1975)

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    Arthur Ashe and Jimmy Connors were both American tennis players, and that's where the similarities ended. Connors was 22 years old, Ashe 31. Connors was the future, while Ashe was a successful older player who never quite lived up to expectations on the court. And the two didn't like each other much.

    Yet for one day in 1975, Arthur Ashe beat the tennis odds and defeated everybody's favorite kid.

    It was a great day for tennis to see such a humanitarian get acclaim for his tennis skills—and to humble the young kid too. Ashe won the tournament as a result of his beating Connors.

    It had a huge impact on the careers of both men.

Ivo Karlovic over Lleyton Hewitt (2003)

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    Maybe you had never heard of Ivo Karlovic prior to his defeating Lleyton Hewitt, the defending Wimbledon champ, back in 2003. Maybe you still haven't heard of him because you're just picking up the racket on your tennis-watching career.

    Either way, Karlovic wasn't expected to win a match. To beat the defending champion was quite a shocking feat.

Lori McNeil over Steffi Graf (1994)

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    Never in the long history of the Wimbledon tournament had the defending champion lost in the first round of the draw—that is, until Lori McNeil took out Steffi Graf in 1994 (7-5, 7-6 [7-5]).

    McNeil's success continued through to the semifinals, where she lost to Conchita Martinez.

    Clearly, though, the most surprising aspect of the upset was on Graf's end. She had won five of the previous six tournaments at that point. Losing in the first round did not seem like an option.

Peter Doohan over Boris Becker (1987)

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    As unknown as Ivo Karlovic was at the time he upset Lleyton Hewitt, Peter Doohan may be an even more anonymous name.

    Yet he defeated Boris Becker, who had won the previous two Wimbledon tournaments and was the No. 1 seed in the 1987 draw.

    This was truly an upset to remember, even if you don't remember Peter Doohan.

Kevin Curren over John McEnroe (1985)

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    Kevin Curren came seemingly from out of nowhere to defeat the two-time defending champion John McEnroe, who had also won four years prior. McEnroe was clearly one of the favorites for the 1985 title.

    Curren had other ideas, as his victory took him to the finals, where he ended up losing to the prodigy Boris Becker. Nonetheless, Curren's win is a memorable one for those who love Wimbledon.

Jelena Dokic over Martina Hingis (1999)

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    Jelena Dokic was just 16 years old, playing the No. 1 player in the world.

    While Martina Hingis was playing at the top of her game, it was the 16-year-old who rose victorious when the two met in the first round of the 1999 Wimbledon draw. Hingis struggled in her response to that loss. Dokic did some nice things after.

    It was a relatively uneventful upset, for the most part.

George Bastl over Pete Sampras (2002)

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    Prior to Thursday's huge upset, there was little doubt that George Bastl's 2002 upset over Pete Sampras was the greatest the tournament had ever seen on either side of the draw.

    Bastl came into the match as the 145th-ranked player in the world. He had never even played in the main draw at Wimbledon. He then somehow won in the first round to earn the right to play the seven-time champ.

    Playing on Court 2, nicknamed "the graveyard of champions," Bastl did what no one expected him to do, which was defeat Sampras.

    More can be said about the great upset, but let's just say it's for sure one of the top two in the tournament's history.

Lukas Rosol over Rafael Nadal (2012)

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    Lukas Rosol just pulled off one of the greatest upsets in tennis history. What's he going to do next? Well, first he has to play at least one more match at Wimbledon.

    But in our crazy, media-centric culture, it is likely Rosol's amazing victory will earn him some press time regardless of how he ends this tournament.

    Rosol's upset over Rafael Nadal was more impressive than Bastl's over Sampras, because Nadal was coming off the French Open victory and was clearly the best player in the world, even though some may say that title belongs to Novak Djokovic.

    Rosol, like Bastl, couldn't even get into the main draw until this year at the All England Club.

    Now he's a household name.