Editor’s note: This week, we will unveil our top moments from the 2022 season. Here’s a look at the categories:
- Monday: Top match
- Tuesday: Biggest upset
- Wednesday: Top rivalry
- Thursday: Most unexpected champion
- Friday: Best celebration
There are upsets and then there are headline-making upsets.
Back in May, Ons Jabeur, the season’s leader in clay-court wins at the time, fell to Magda Linette in the opening round of the French Open. A month later, Alizé Cornet snapped Iga Swiatek's 37-match win streak at Wimbledon.
And if we're going purely by ranking, who can forget Serena Williams' three-set win over No.2 Anett Kontaveit at the US Open?
These were just a few noteworthy upsets from 2022. Here is each of our staff’s moment memorable shocker:
Caroline Garcia d. Iga Swiatek 6-1, 1-6, 6-4, Warsaw quarterfinals
Swiatek’s outrageous winning streak had already ended at Wimbledon, but the World No.1 moved directly from the grass to her home-soil event knowing she was returning to a surface where she was dominant. Swiatek entered the Warsaw quarterfinals with an 18-0 record on clay in 2022.
Garcia had experienced a resurgence on grass, winning the Bad Homburg title and reaching the Wimbledon Round of 16, but she was still the underdog against Swiatek on clay. Nevertheless, Garcia’s powerful play and pinpoint returning won out, and she handed Swiatek her only clay-court loss of the season. It was Garcia’s first win over a current World No.1.
The upset was a harbinger of things to come, as Garcia maintained those hyper-aggressive tactics for the rest of the season, and reaped the rewards. Garcia went on to finish the year with the WTA Finals title and a No.4 ranking. -- Jason Juzwiak
Tatjana Maria d. Jelena Ostapenko 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, Wimbledon fourth round
Tatjana Maria's inspired run to the Wimbledon semifinal was paved by two big upsets. Her best win of the fortnight came in the third round, a straight-set victory over No.5 Maria Sakkari. Then came the seismic shocker one round later over Ostapenko. A semifinalist in 2019, the Latvian came into Wimbledon with a full head of steam. A week earlier she had come one win away from successfully defending her title at Eastbourne. On paper, this was an entirely one-sided mismatch.
Maria saved two match points en route to the hotly-contested win to advance to her first major quarterfinal. The 34-year-old mother of two had never even reached the second week of a Slam before the fortnight. With the win, she became the oldest first-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist in the Open Era. -- Courtney Nguyen
Maddison Inglis def. Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-2, Australian Open first round
Some upsets make more sense in the rear-view mirror or once contextualised a bit deeper. Others remain baffling.
Leylah Fernandez had a solid follow-up season to her breakout 2021, highlighted by a title defense in Monterrey and a Roland Garros quarterfinal run. The Canadian's ranking slide was largely down to injury, and despite the foot stress fracture that sidelined her for two months, almost all of her losses were to accomplished or in-form opponents.
But she suffered a shocker at the first major of the year, falling in straight sets to Maddison Inglis, a local wild card who fell in qualifying at 10 of her next 11 WTA tournaments and has not won a tour-level match since the Australian Open. In retrospect and given the overall seasons Fernandez and Inglis went on to compile, this result is still mystifying. -- Alex Macpherson