UPSETS OF 2012
Upsets Of The Year - Nos. 1-5
2012 Year In Review
by ATP Staff|
ATPWorldTour.com concludes its review of the Top 10 upsets of the year, with Nos. 5-1.
Read 2012 Upsets Nos. 10-6
5. Tommy Haas d. Roger Federer, 7-6(5), 6-4, Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Final
The city of Halle had officially unveiled Roger-Federer-Allee on day one of Gerry Weber’s grass-court tournament, as a tribute to the five-time champion. Six days later, in his seventh final there, Roger Federer came face-to-face with a lifelong Halle devotee, Hamburg-born Tommy Haas, who was appearing for the 12th time since his debut in 1997. Once ranked No. 2 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, Haas had suffered years of injury woes. But at 34, his passion for the sport remained, even after he had been sidelined for 14 months from late February 2010 to May 2011 following hip surgery. On his return from injury, he had swallowed his pride and played ATP Challenger Tour events. At the start of 2012, he was outside the Top 200. But now, in mid-June, at World No. 87, he rolled back the years. Haas beat No. 7-ranked Tomas Berdych and his compatriot, Philipp Kohlschreiber, the defending champion, en route to the final. There, he continued his Top 10-form to become Halle’s oldest singles champion with victory in one hour and 35 minutes. After he claimed his 13th ATP World Tour title, his first since lifting the 2009 Halle trophy, Haas said, "This has been one of the best weeks of my career, but I reckon I won't really appreciate what's happened until this evening. If someone had said to me beforehand that I was going to beat Roger Federer, probably the best player of all time, I would have thought they were mad!" Haas had not beaten Federer since the 2002 Australian Open. Federer was magnanimous in defeat, saying, "Tommy has performed well throughout, I'm thrilled for him." Three weeks later, Federer won his seventh Wimbledon title (d. Murray). Haas went onto re-establish himself in the Top 25, with runner-up showings in Hamburg and Washington. In November, fellow players voted him the Comeback Player of the Year in the 2012 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon.
4. Sam Querrey d. Novak Djokovic, 0-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, BNP Paribas Masters, Paris, Second Round
Novak Djokovic arrived on Court Central wearing a Darth Vader mask to mark Halloween and proceeded to win the first set against Sam Querrey in just 21 minutes. "It was a little embarrassing," said World No. 23 Querrey. "But then I got rolling and got more confidence and started serving better and being a little more aggressive." Distracted by off-court issues, including the health of his father, Djokovic’s jovial mood ended at 2-0 in the second set, when he began to fatigue and he started to waver under the relentless accuracy of Querrey’s serve. "I was concerned about how long I can keep that level, since physically I'm not feeling very good in last couple of days," said Djokovic, who was already confirmed as year-end No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. "When you're playing somebody that hits, that serves that well in the corners, there is nothing you can do." Djokovic battled hard to recover from a 2-4 deficit in the decider and forced Querrey to save five break points, three of them with aces, in the eighth game. Querrey hit 18 aces in total for his first victory over Djokovic, who experienced his earliest loss at a tournament since March 2010 at the Sony Open Tennis in Miami. It broke Djokovic’s 10-match winning streak and meant Querrey is now 1-9 lifetime against Top 3 players.
3. Martin Klizan d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3, US Open, New York City, Second Round
Martin Klizan came into the 2012 US Open on the back of his first victory over a Top 50 opponent (No. 49 Benoit Paire) at the Winston-Salem Open. After three days of action in New York, the top seeds appeared invincible. But on day four, tremors were felt around the borough of Queens as fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga crashed out to World No. 52 Klizan, who recorded the biggest win of his career. Tsonga, who hadn’t lost a Grand Slam championship match before the third round since 2007, looked sluggish in terms of agility and stroke play. Afterwards, Tsonga admitted, “Today I was not in good shape. I didn't play good tennis. It seemed like I couldn't hit the ball hard enough to put my opponent out of position. I don't really know why it was like this today, but sometimes it happens with me.” Klizan cleverly interspersed pace and direction on serve with several thunderbolt forehands that kept Tsonga behind the baseline. Having risen from No. 117 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings since the start of the year, mainly due to clay-court match wins, Klizan said, “I had no pressure. If I lost, then I lost. But I won and I’m very happy. It means for me more that I beat finally a guy from [the] Top 10.” Three months later and with his first ATP World Tour trophy, won at the St. Petersburg Open (d. Fognini) in September, Klizan was voted the Newcomer of the Year in the 2012 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon.
2. Jerzy Janowicz d. Andy Murray, 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-2, BNP Paribas Masters, Paris, Third Round
Three years ago, Andy Murray beat Jerzy Janowicz in a Davis Cup tie with plenty to spare. In early November, it was a different story. The 6’8” Polish qualifier, possessing a steely confidence, fired cannonball serves and deceived the ATP World Tour’s elite all week with finely polished drop shots to ensure that he was the talk of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. Third seed Murray, the London 2012 Olympics and US Open champion, fell to the Janowicz in the third round. It was a result that alerted the tennis world to a new talent. Murray, who edged the opening set with a single break in the 11th game, failed to convert one match point opportunity when serving for the match at 7-5, 5-4. Careless play let Janowicz off the hook and the 21 year old began to dominate as Murray's challenge faded dramatically. It was the third time since Murray’s first Grand Slam championship win that he had lost after holding match points (Raonic in Tokyo and Djokovic in Shanghai). Janowicz fell to the floor in celebration, before rushing to his coach. The Pole said he experienced a "thousand different feelings" after the victory. "This was the most unbelievable day in my life. I beat the Olympic champion, US Open champion. I beat Andy Murray. I could never have expected something like this. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to say after this match, this is amazing." Janowicz beat five Top 20 players in succession during his Paris odyssey, before losing to David Ferrer in the final. He rose to World No. 26 the next day and looks set to become one of the stars of 2013.
1. Lukas Rosol d. Rafael Nadal, 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, Wimbledon Second Round
The Championships has a history of major upsets. In not too distant history, two-time defending champion Boris Becker lost to Peter Doohan in the 1987 second round. In 2002, wild card entry and World No. 145 George Bastl beat seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras on Court 2, the 'Graveyard of Champions' and the following year, World No. 203 Ivo Karlovic’s win over Lleyton Hewitt ensured the Australian became the first defending champion in the Open Era (since 1968) to lose in the first round. At 10:01 p.m. local time on 28 June 2012, Rafael Nadal was added to the list of fallen giants at the All England Club. Lukas Rosol, a lover of ice hockey and tattoos, at No. 100 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, had played 51 tour-level matches in an eight-year pro career and was competing at Wimbledon for the first time. He clubbed 55 winners, including 22 aces during the match – and made just 29 unforced errors – in a shock win over Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion. Rosol came onto Centre Court with a clear game plan to hit Nadal off the court. His success was based around a freakish alignment of 130 miles per hour-plus serves and pin-point accurate groundstrokes that produced one of the most astonishing and fearless finishes to a five-setter ever seen. Rosol was out of sorts at the end of the fourth set, but rain began to fall to ensure a 43-minute break. During the interval, Slava Dosedel, Rosol’s coach, perfected a game plan for the decider. In his final three service games, Rosol did not surrender a point and finished with 10 clean winners, including seven aces, three of which came in the final game alone. The next day, Rosol admitted, "I was just like somewhere else. I believed in myself and knew that I could make it. I didn't want to show Rafa what was inside me. I was so concentrated and in a trance a little bit. I don't know how I won it. It just happened." Nadal said, "I'm very, very disappointed [but] it's not a tragedy, it's only a tennis match." It echoed Becker's sentiments 25 years beforehand, when, on losing to Doohan, the German said, "No one died out there, I just lost a tennis match." Rosol lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round and went onto compile a 6-4 record in tour-level play the rest of the season.