DUBAI, UAE - The underdogs certainly rose up against the favorites at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this year, but a lot of those underdogs were seeded, and a lot of them had recently shown signs of doing something huge - none of this year's upsets came out of left field, basically.
But with so many top players coming to Dubai every year, the tournament has been full of surprises - here are five of the biggest surprises in the 15 years of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
5. Mirza's historic momentum proves too strong for Kuznetsova (2005)
A few weeks after becoming the first Indian ever to win a WTA title in her hometown of Hyderabad, an 18-year-old Sania Mirza shocked the tennis world in Dubai when, as a No.98-ranked wildcard, she stunned Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-4, 6-2, for the first Top 10 win of her career. That 91-spot ranking gap is one of the biggest ranking gaps for a Top 10 upset in the 15-year history of the tournament.
4. Giant-killer Razzano stuns Safina in opening match (2009)
Fresh off her second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, a No.2-ranked Dinara Safina was looking like a strong favorite in Dubai. But her week came to an abrupt end after she lost her first match to a No.58-ranked Virginie Razzano, 6-4, 6-2, and the Frenchwoman would carry that momentum all the way to the biggest final of her career. And she had more upsets in the pipeline, too...
3. Testud crashes Venus' history-making week (2002)
Venus Williams was a huge favorite against Sandrine Testud in the Dubai semifinals in 2002 - she had won 33 of her last 34 matches, she'd secured her first rise to No.1 for the following Monday, and most of all, she had never lost a set to Testud in five previous meetings. She even cruised through the first set this time, 6-1 - but Testud never gave up, battling back to take the match, 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
2. Inspired Cornet tops the World No.1 (2014)
Alizé Cornet pulled off the unthinkable in the 2014 semifinals, holding off a late surge to close out Serena Williams, 6-4, 6-4. Williams hadn't lost to anyone in straight sets in a year and a half, and Cornet went into the match 0-17 against Top 4 players - it was her first win over a World No.1, and she repeated the feat two more times in 2014, defeating Williams at both Wimbledon and Wuhan.
1. Schiavone stuns Henin, Queen of Dubai (2008)
No one has won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships as many times as Justine Henin - she won four titles here, in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007, and she went into the 2008 quarterfinals with an immaculate 17-0 record at the event. Going into that match she had also won 37 of her last 38 matches on the tour - but Francesca Schiavone knows a thing or two about lifting her game on the biggest stages, and after two marathon sets the World No.1's Dubai crown was gone, 7-6(3), 7-6(4).
"You have to be so focused against her. Each point is match point," Schiavone said afterwards.
"To beat Justine you have to play at such a high level, and I did that today."