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Major Surprises

Which unseeded doubles team's run to a Grand Slam title was the most shocking?

Published July 15, 2010 12:00

Major Surprises
Kateryna Bondarenko, Alona Bondarenko

Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova's Wimbledon doubles triumph a couple of weeks ago was quite a surprise, given that they had only played two previous events together and were unseeded. In fact, they were just the fifth unseeded duo to capture a Grand Slam title in the last 30 years. So which of the unseeded champs from the last couple of decades overcame the greatest odds?

Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova at 2010 Wimbledon
Prior Experience: This was their third Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event together, all of them in 2010. Their best previous result was runner-up showing in 's-Hertogenbosch.
Path To Title: Beat four seeds, highlighted by straight set upset of No.3 seeds Nadia Petrova and Samantha Stosur in round of 16.
Final: Beat unseeded Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva in straight sets. Lost two sets during fortnight.
Notes: Vesnina and Zvonareva had pulled off a monumental upset of the Williamses in the quarters ... King and Shvedova's semifinal victims, Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, had just beaten them a few weeks earlier in the Birmingham semis ... This was King's third doubles title of 2010, all three with different partners ... This was Shvedova's second career Tour doubles title.

Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko at 2008 Australian Open
Prior Experience: This was their 37th Tour event together, but they had only won one prior title.
Path To Title: Beat four seeds, highlighted by straight set upset of No.1 seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber in quarters.
Final: Beat 12th-seeded Victoria Azarenka and Shahar Peer in three sets. Lost two sets during fortnight.
Notes: Have only won one title together since, with best result at major being semifinal showing at 2008 Roland Garros.

Nathalie Dechy and Vera Zvonareva at 2006 US Open
Prior Experience: This was their fourth Tour event together, all of them having been in 2006. Their best previous result was quarterfinal showing at French Open that year.
Path To Title:
Beat four seeds, highlighted by three set win over No. 4 seeds Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama in third round.
Final: Beat eighth-seeded Dinara Safina and Katarina Srebotnik in straight sets. Lost two sets during fortnight.
Notes: Played eight more events together the rest of their careers, never going beyond the semifinals ... Dechy actually paired up with Safina at the 2007 US Open and was victorious again, her second and last doubles Slam title ... Zvonareva has won just won doubles title since '06 US Open.

Serena and Venus Williams at 2001 Australian Open
Prior Experience: This was their 25th Tour event together and they had already won seven titles, including three majors and an Olympics.
Path To Title: Beat three seeds, highlighted by three set victory over No.3 seeds Anna Kournikova and Barbara Schett in quarters.
Final: Beat seventh-seeded Lindsay Davenport and Corina Morariu in three sets. Lost three sets during fortnight.
Notes: Though they were not nearly as accomplished a duo as they are now, the Williamses' title was hardly a surprise, and they were only unseeded because of how seldom they played doubles at the time ... In semifinals, defeated Martina Hingis and Monica Seles, who they had lost to earlier in the year in Sydney ... Have won 11 titles since, including eight majors.

Martina Hingis and Mirjana Lucic at 1998 Australian Open
Prior Experience: This was their first event together.
Path To Title: Beat four seeds, highlighted by three set win over No.1 seeds Lindsay Davenport and Natasha Zvereva in final. Lost two sets during fortnight.
Notes: Only played two more events in their careers together, both also in 1998, winning Tokyo Pan Pacific by beating Davenport and Zvereva again in the final and losing to them in the semifinals of Indian Wells a round after knocking off Williams sisters ... Australian Open title not a huge shock, in that Hingis ended up with 37 Tour doubles titles, including nine majors, although Lucic has no Tour doubles titles, other than her two with Hingis.

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