Australian Open: The 10 Biggest Men's Upsets of the Last Decade

Candice HareContributor IIIJanuary 19, 2011

The 10 Biggest Australian Open Men's Upsets of the Last Decade

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    As a rule, the major upsets take place in Melbourne. 

    The Australian Open is the first major of the season and, as a result, there tends to more major upsets, as players are often rusty at the start of a new season. 

    Remember when Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer in the 2009 final after playing for over five hours in his semifinal match in 2009?

    What about when Roger Federer lost to Marat Safin in the semifinals in 2005?

    Does anyone remember 2002? When the top two seeds fell in the first round and the top four seeds were out by the second round?

    Ahead you will find the 10 biggest upsets in men's singles at the Australian Open in the last decade. 

10. 2007 First Round: Mardy Fish Def. Ivan Ljubicic

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    In 2007, the first major upset occurred on the first day of the tournament. 

    Mardy Fish, who was ranked 42nd in the world, defeated fourth-seeded Ivan Ljubicic 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4. 

    Not only had Ljubicic reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne the year before, but he had began his 2007 season by taking the title in Qatar.

    After a strong start, Ljubicic faded, however, and Fish seized the moment. 

    Fish would go on to reach the fourth round of the tournament, which at the time was his best finish at a major tournament. 

9. 2004 R16: Hicham Arazi Def. Mark Philippoussis

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    On Australia Day in 2004, the Aussie crowd saw their local favorite Mark Philippoussis go down to Moroccan Hicham Arazi in straight sets 6-2, 6-2, 6-4. 

    The No. 10 seed Philippoussis had 10 break point opportunities, none of which he was able to convert, and that combined with 38 unforced errors spelled the end of the tournament for him. 

    In fact, it began a dark day for the Aussies, who saw both Philippoussis and Lleyton Hewitt go down on Australia's official national day. 

    This match spelled the beginning of a terrible season both on and off the court for Philippoussis. 

    Not only was he blamed for Australia's Davis Cup defeat at the hands of Sweden, but he didn't win a single match between Wimbledon and the end of the season in October. 

    Off the court, media outlets reported that Philippoussis was dating both Paris Hilton and Delta Goodrem at the same time, which hurt his public profile. 

8. 2008 Semifinal: Novak Djokovic Def Roger Federer

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    It wasn't just that he beat Federer, it was how he defeated him that made this match special. 

    Djokovic, who was 1-6 against Federer prior to this match, defeated him in straight sets 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (5). 

    The Serb was a man on a mission against Federer and even though he was down 3-5 in the first set, he went on to break the top-ranked Swiss twice to take that set and eventually the match. 

    Not only did this match end Federer's consecutive major tournament finals streak at 10, but it propelled Djokovic to his first major title. 

7. 2004 3rd Round: Guillermo Canas Def. Tim Henman

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    In his career, Tim Henman never made it past the fourth round in Melbourne, but that doesn't mean his loss to Guillermo Canas wasn't a shocker. 

    At the time, Henman was ranked 12th, whereas Canas was No. 248 in the world, and yet the two put on a scintillating display of tennis over the course of five sets. 

    After winning the first set in a tiebreak, Henman looked to be in control when he sealed the second set 7-5. 

    It was after that set, however, that the Argentine raised his game. 

    And yet, Henman still had his chances. In fact, he was up 4-1 in the final set, and yet he found a way to lose to Canas 6-7, 5-7, 7-6, 7-5, 9-7. 

    It was a marathon four hour and 53 minute long match that saw Henman's serve fall apart when he needed it most. 

    That's what you call a heartbreaker. 

6. 2005 Semifinals: Marat Safin Def. Roger Federer

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    In what has become known as one of the classic matches in Australian Open history, Marat Safin defeated Roger Federer in an epic five set battle 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 9-7. 

    At that time, Federer was by far in a class of his own, and yet Safin found a way to not only go toe to toe with the world No. 1, but wear him down. 

    In the nearly 4 1/2 hour match that took place on Safin's 25th birthday, the Russian played his absolute best and for once in his life, he was composed en route to the major upset. 

    In fact, it was Federer who was tossing rackets and cursing in disgust. 

    Safin's huge serve and powerful groundstrokes were too much, not only humbled Federer, who had not dropped a set in the tournament prior to that match, but it garnered him a standing ovation from the crowd.

    Birthdays don't get much better than that. 

5. 2008 Semifinal: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Def. Rafael Nadal

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    Rafael Nadal is touted as one of, if not the, fittest player on tour, and yet the unseeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga wore him out in his straight sets demolition of the second seeded Nadal. 

    Nadal threw the kitchen sink at Tsonga, but it was a case of "anything you can do, I can do better" for the Frenchman who outmaneuvered the Spaniard, whilst hitting winners from both the baseline and at net. 

    After being steamrolled 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, even Nadal said there was nothing that he would have been able to do to stop Tsonga that night. 

4. 2009 Final: Rafael Nadal Def. Roger Federer

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    Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have had many epic battles over the years, but this one left Federer in tears. 

    Nadal, who had played over five hours in a scintillating semifinal match against his countryman Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals, wasn't expected to put up much of a fight against the well-rested Federer on the hardcourts of Australia. 

    The Spaniard, however, showed what he was really made of when he battled in a four hour and 22 minute match against Federer to win the match 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2. 

    This match was a roller-coaster from the beginning and at times, it looked as if either man could come out on top. 

    It was Nadal's first major final on a hard court, whereas Federer had been in eight hard court major tournament finals, all of which he had won. 

    And yet, it was Nadal who would come out on top to win his first major title on a hard court and become the first Spaniard to win the Australian Open. 

    Federer, on the other hand, was left to wait for another crack at tying Sampras' all-time major title record. 

3. 2002 First Round: Alberto Martin Def. Lleyton Hewitt

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    Aussie-native Lleyton Hewitt came into the 2002 Australian Open as the top seed in the tournament. 

    But, in his first tournament while ranked number one in the world, Hewitt crumbled after winning the first set to lose to the 39th-ranked Alberto Martin the first round 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4) in three and a half hours. 

    Hewitt won the first set with ease, but his game slowly fell apart after that. 

    There was even a bit of drama when Martin called the trainer because of cramps when he led 5-4 in the tiebreak, only two points from victory. Hewitt would go on to make two unforced errors and hand Martin the match, before suggesting that Martin's medical timeout was unfair. 

    Hewitt's loss marked the first time that a top seed had lost in the first round of a major tournament since 1990 and it was the first major where the top four seeds lost in the first two rounds. 

2. 2006 R16: Marcos Baghdatis Def. Andy Roddick

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    Is there anyone that doesn't love Marcos Baghdatis?

    It was the match of his life and the biggest win of his career to date when the Cypriot defeated the second-seeded Andy Roddick in the fourth round 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and it made the world fall in love. 

    The fun-loving, 20-year-old Baghdatis charmed the crowd with both his personality and superb play en route to victory. 

    The best thing about Baghdatis? He played his best on the big points. 

    When serving for the match, he didn't just win the game—he won it at love. 

    It doesn't get much better than that!

1. 2002 Final: Thomas Johansson Def. Marat Safin

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    Thomas Johansson entered the tournament as the 16th seed. He left as the champion. 

    Johansson's huge weapon was his ability to change up the pace of his shots during rallies, which clearly frustrated his opponent: the always testy Marat Safin.

    Johansson went on to win the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(4) and take his only major tournament title in the only major final of his career. 

    Even he was in disbelief after it was all said and done. 

    "I never thought that I was going to be a Grand Slam winner," said Johansson. 

    Talk about an upset!