US Open Tennis 2012: Ranking the Biggest Surprises from Week 1

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 31:  Kim Clijsters of Belgium reacts during a first round mixed doubles match with her partner Bob Bryan of the United States against  Irina Falconi of the United States and Steve Johnson of the United States on Day Five of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2012 in the Flushing neigborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

We are approaching the conclusion of the first week at the 2012 U.S. Open, and to call it noteworthy would be a massive understatement.

In off-the-court news, former world No. 1 Andy Roddick announced Thursday that the Open would be his last tournament in a move that shocked many. The 2003 Open champion, Roddick has battled nagging injuries over the past few years and has been unable to regularly compete for wins as a result. 

On the court, the action hasn't been as surprising as Roddick's retirement. Nevertheless, the U.S. Open is always reliable for some huge early-round upsets and this year has been no different.

With that in mind, let's check in at Flushing Meadows and rank the biggest surprises from the first week.


3. Kim Clijsters Loses Career Match to Unseeded Laura Robson

Though it seemed unlikely that the three-time U.S. Open champ would continue her unorthodox Flushing Meadows winning streak all the way to the finals, it was blindsiding to see her go out this early.

Playing in her last tournament as a pro (though Clijsters has said that before), the 29-year-old didn't go down without a fight, losing both sets in tiebreakers to the Robson.

While one career was seemingly ending, another promising one might be on the rise. The 18-year-old Robson, who won the silver medal in mixed doubles at the London Summer Games, may finally be putting it all together after being on tour since 2008. 

If Robson can keep this going, Clijsters' exit may signal the rise of another star to take her place. 


 2. Irina-Camelia Begu Defeats Caroline Wozniacki

Hampered by a knee injury, Wozniacki's first-round ouster by Begu on Tuesday marked the end of a frustrating major championship season for the 23-year-old Danish star.

Yet to win at all on tour this year, Wozniacki's best major tournament result was making the quarterfinals in the Australian Open and Wimbledon. 

After coming into this season holding the world's No. 1 ranking, Wozniacki's struggles haven taken a toll on her position in the tennis world. Sitting now at just No. 9, she will surely want to forget 2012 ever happened.

For her part, beating Wozniacki is a wonderful way to get a first-ever major tournament victory. Though she lost to Silvia Espinosa in the second round, the 22-year-old Romanian can walk out of Flushing Meadows proud that she pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the first week. 


1. 5-Seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Loses to Martin Klizan

Though Tsonga's greatest career triumph was winning a doubles silver medal in the London Olympic Games on grass, the Frenchman's best performances have been consistently on hard courts.

And after reaching the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows in 2011, Tsonga seemed destined to win his section of the bracket to face Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.

Just one little problem: a relative unknown by the name of Martin Klizan. 

Coming in with a career singles record of 13-21, Klizan had never made it past the second round of any major tournament. In fact, this season was the first the 23-year-old Slovak even made it that far. 

Nevertheless, Klizan not only beat Tsonga on Thursday, he dominated the entire match. Going 6-4, 1-6, 6-1, and 6-3, the young Slovak outworked his counterpart every step of the way. 

For Tsonga's part, he looked lethargic throughout the entire match and seemingly admitted he was out of shape afterward. 

''I'm not a machine,'' Tsonga said (via Yahoo! Sports). ''Sometimes I'm tired, sometimes not. Sometimes in good shape, sometimes not.''