Top 10 French Open shocks: where does Andre Agassi’s loss to a world No 271 rank?
On the back of Jelena Ostapenko’s exit from Roland Garros, we look at other shock early-round defeats at the French Open.
10. Justine Henin-Hardenne creates unwanted history in 2004
Justine Henin-Hardenne lost only one match at Roland Garros between 2003 and 2007. Unfortunately for her it was a second-round disaster at the 2004 edition when she was beaten by Tathiana Garbin.
Tathiana who, you ask? Exactly. Garbin was ranked No 86 in the world at the time and had only one title to her name, but she produced the display of her life as she beat the defending champion 7-5, 6-4.
“I never played like this before,” the Italian said after her win. “I am so happy… I mean, she is world number one… this is incredible.”
It was an error-strewn performance from the Belgian and her defeat was the earlies by a top seed in the French Open’s history at the time.
9. American duo fall early in 2000
Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati were expected to do well at the 2000 French Open, but second seed Davenport lost 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-3 against Belgian Dominique Van Roost and the 15th ranked Jennifer Capriati was beaten 7-5, 6-3 by Fabiola Zuluaga.
Van Roost got emotional after her win.
“Usually I cry when I lose,” she said. “This is a little bit special for me. I knew it was going to be tough for me to be here today, even if I lost the match.
“It’s not the victory against Davenport that counts for me. It’s a victory mentally for me to be back here because I fought a lot during the last months. I was not sure I was going to start playing again.”
8. Stan Wawrinka comes crashing down in 2014
It was all going brilliantly for Stan The Man during the first five months of the 2014 season. He won his first Grand Slam when he claimed the Australian Open, he reached a career-high of No 3 in the world (ahead of Roger Federer) and he beat Federer in the Monte Carlo Masters final to claim his first ATP Masters 1000 title.
But he was reminded just how cruel sport can be in the first round at the French Open as he was bounced out 4–6, 7–5, 2–6, 0–6 by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
“I need to put the puzzle back together, but differently than in the past,” Wawrinka said after the loss.
And things did turn out fine as he won another two Grand Slams.
7. American men follow in American women’s footsteps in 2000
Andre Agassi was the defending champion after completing his Career Grand Slam at the French Open in 1999. Besides Agassi, Pete Sampras was also a contender.
But by the Thursday both had crashed out with Agassi going out 2-6, 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 to Karol Kucera.
“It’s a bad, bad day,” Agassi’s coach Brad Gilbert said. “He just had all these blisters. Bad luck, bad day.”
It was a shocker for the Americans as second seed Sampras was bombed out 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 8-6 in three hours and 39 minutes by big-serving Mark Philippoussis 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 8-6.
6. Martina Navritolova makes an angry exit in 1994
The tennis great didn’t go quietly when she suffered her first-ever first-round loss at Roland Garros and her first first-round loss at a Grand Slam since 1976.
Miriam Oremans from the Netherlands was victorious with a 6-4, 6-4 win.
Navritilova smashed her racket after the defeat and then threw it in the bin. “I should have broken the other one,” the Independent reports her as saying. “Something was rattling inside it.”
To be fair to her, it was the first time in six years she had played at Roland Garros and her legs were gone.
“I lost the bloody match,” she said, “but what a way to go.”
5. Going, going, gone for Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1990
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario won her maiden Grand Slam at Roland Garros in 1989, but her defence didn’t go according to plan as she was beaten 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 by Argentine Mercedes Paz, who doubled up as her doubles partner.
“What you can do?” the Spaniard said after the match.
“Tennis is like this: Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”
4. Two Stefan Edberg specials
It’s no secret that clay was not Edberg’s favourite surface, but you still expected him to get past the world no 152 in the second round in 1987.
Edberg had won his second Australian Open title a few months earlier and was ranked third, but “fuzzy-cheeked 21-year-old” Eric Winogradsky, as the Washington Post referred to him, was a 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 winner.
And then in 1994 Edberg made an even quicker exit as he was beaten 7-5, 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (2-7), 6-7 (8-9), 6-4 by unseeded Swedish compatriot Henrik Holm.
The LA Times reported the following: “When a tournament official warned reporters, ‘Last question,’ during a news conference, Holm responded, ‘(But) I need the publicity!'”
3. A Pete Sampras special in 1998
Pete Sampras was the top seed in 1998 and he looked in good nick after dispatching compatriot Todd Martin in three sets in the first round. However, he was on the receiving end of a three-set defeat to Ramon Delgado in the next round with the Paraguayan winning 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 6-4.
“I’m just not playing well at the moment,” Sampras is quoted as saying by the Washington Post. “It’s plain and simple. You look at other athletes, other professional players in their careers, they go through a little patch where they’re not playing well. I’m going through it right now. This is a time when I need to bounce back. Can’t think of a better time than Wimbledon.”
And he did bounce back in style at Wimbledon as he won his fifth title at SW19.
2. A world No 271 accounts for Andre Agassi’s loss in 2004
Multiple Grand Slam winner Agassi was looking to add another title to his collection as he started the 2004 French Open as the world No 6 and came off semi-final appearances at the Australian Open and US Open.
However, world No 271 Jerome Haehnel was having none of it and claimed a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win in the opening round.
This is Jerome Haehnel’s Wikipedia entry:
“Jerome Haehnel (born 14 July 1980) is a retired French tennis player who is best known for defeating Andre Agassi in the first round of the French Open in 2004. Haehnel’s career-high singles ranking is World No. 78, which he reached in February 2005. Jerome was coached by his wife and has a fear of flying.”
Don’t think we need to add anything else.
1. Anastasia Myskina outdoes Henin-Hardenne in 2005
Anything Justine can do, Anastasia can do better.
On the back of Henin-Hardenne’s early exit in 2004, Myskina became the first Russian woman to win a Grand Slam when she beat her compatriot Elena Dementieva in the final.
The defence of her title never got going as she became the first defending champion, male or female, to lose in the first round at Roland Garros the following year.
She had struggled with a shoulder injury in the build-up to the tournament, but no one expected her to go down to world No 109 Maria Sanchez Lorenzo.
It was a total collapse in the third set with the Spaniard winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
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