French Open Tennis 2012: 4 Most Shocking Finalists Ever

Not Active Not Active Contributor IIMay 29, 2012

French Open Tennis 2012: 4 Most Shocking Finalists Ever

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    The 2012 French Open is currently well underway. It has a rich history, featuring the world's best tennis players competing on the world stage.

    Like any international tournament, ranking systems do not always give accurate predictions of an athlete's chances of success. Sometimes upsets happen. Players that are thought to be nearly unbeatable will have their tournament abruptly ended by lower seeds.

    Here are four surprise finalists in French Open history. 

Gustavo Kuerten

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    Gustavo Kuerten was ranked 66th in the world, when he surprising captured a Grand Slam at the French Open in 1997. Kuerten beat three former French Open champions, including the defending champ Yevgeny Kafelnikov, in the quarterfinals to win.

    Kuerten's performance would enlighten the role of tennis in Brazil and his influence would continue to spread throughout the country from his entire career. 

Robin Soderling

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    In 2009, Robin Soderling defeated his opponent, the No. 1 ranked Rafael Nadal, in one of the biggest surprises in the history of the French Open.

    Nadal went into the French Open with the six Grand Slam titles under his belt and was favored to win the tournament. Soderling was No. 23 at the time that he defeated Nadal. Soderling had not won anything higher than a third-round match in a major tournament at the time of his victory.

Michael Chang

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    In 1989, 17-year-old Michael Chang made French Open history when he became the youngest male player to ever win the Grand Slam. Chang later explained to writer Greg Garber, he found the strength to accomplish one of the biggest upsets in French Open history by following his heart.

    His opponent, Ivan Lendl, was ranked No. 1 in the world at the time. 

Iva Majoli

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    It was another big surprise from the 1997 French Open. Iva Majoli defeating Martina Hingis in 1997, has been called one of the biggest upsets in women's sports history.

    Hingis had already won the US Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon that year, and it was expected that she would add the French Open to her list of achievements.

    In a shocking twist, Majoli would defeat Hingis to become the lowest-seeded female to win the French Open, at that time.