Top 10 Great Men's Singles U. S. Open surprises in the open era
The U. S. Open has produced less surprising results over the years than the other Grand Slams, but there have still been some shocks. Rod Laver's loss the year after winning the Grand Slam was one of them. His Wimbledon loss in 1970 to Roger Taylor wasn't listed because Taylor was seeded 16. To qualify for this list, the player that lost must be seeded in the top four and the player that won must be seeded outside the top 16.
1. Yzaga v Sampras 1994 4th round
This was one of the greatest upsets of all time. Pete Sampras was at the peak of his powers in 1994. He won Wimbledon and the US in 1993 and the Australian and Wimbledon in 1994. Then at the U. S. top seed Sampras was the overwhelming favourite yet in five dramatic sets lost to journeyman Jaime Yzaga. Yzaga had let a 5-2 fifth set lead slip but eventually closed it out 7-5 against an opponent who was slightly suffering physically (in most matches when he was struggling physically Sampras won).
2. Ralston v Laver 1970 4th round
In 1969 Rod Laver had won the Grand Slam. Therefore in 1970 any time he lost in a Grand Slam was a huge upset. He didn't enter the Australian or French. At Wimbledon he lost to Roger Taylor. At the US he lost to former Wimbledon finalist Dennis Ralston, who was outside the top 16. In hindsight Laver wasn't the same after winning his 1969 Grand Slam, but at the time this must have been a big surprise.
3. Volkov v Edberg 1990 1st round
In 1990 Stefan Edberg was at his peak. He'd just won Wimbledon. He was the top seed at the US, but lost his opening match in straight sets to journeyman Alexander Volkov. Edberg then won the event for the next two years.
4. Clement v Agassi 2000 2nd round
Andre Agassi was top seed and defending champion (he was also the reigning Australian Open champion as well). When on form Agassi was a devastating player capable of destroying early round opponents. However, he had his fair share of off days and this was one of them. Arnaud Clement went on to lose easily to Agassi in the 2001 Australian Open final, but on this day he beat an out of sorts Agassi in straight sets.
5. Haarhuis v Becker 1991 3rd round
In 1991 Boris Becker won the Australian and became world number one. Then he lost the Wimbledon final to Michael Stich. Top seeded at the US Open, Becker surprisingly lost to journeyman Paul Haarhuis in the third round. This was the start of Becker's mid-career decline.
6. Pattison v Nastase 1973 2nd round
Reigning US and French champion Ilie Nastase was seeded second at the 1973 US Open but lost surprisingly in the second round to journeyman Andrew Pattison. This followed his surprise loss at the boycott Wimbledon to Sandy Mayer.
7. Cox v Rosewall 1972 2nd round
Reigning Australian Open and second seed Ken Rosewall surprisingly lost in the second round to Britain's Mark Cox in five sets. Rosewall reached the Wimbledon and US finals in 1974, so by no means was over the hill.
8. Amritraj v Borg 1974 2nd round
In 1974 Bjorn Borg won his first Grand Slam title at the French. At the US he was seeded four but lost surprisingly in the second round to Indian Vijay Amritraj. Amritraj almost beat Borg at Wimbledon a few years later, but by then Borg was at his peak. In 1974 he was slightly before his absolute peak.
9. Krickstein v Edberg 1988 4th round
Aaron Krickstein was a decent player, but third seed Stefan Edberg had just won Wimbledon. After five epic sets Krickstein won to book his place in the quarter finals, where he surprisingly lost to Darren Cahill.
10. Youzhny v Nadal 2006 quarter final
Second seed Rafael Nadal had already won two French titles, but was yet to reach his peak on hard courts. He lost in the quarter finals in four sets to Mikhail Youzhny, then fairly unknown.
The top surprise that almost came to pass but didn't
Sampras v Corretja 1996 quarter final
Top seed Pete Sampras was at his peak and Alex Corretja was unseeded. Sampras was sick on court in the fifth set tie break. Corretja had a match point. Sampras just managed to hit a volley for a winner. Sampras went on to win the match and the tournament. He came close to going without a Grand Slam title in 1996 but his career was back on track.
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