Rio 2016 Olympics, Tennis: 5 most shocking upsets from Round 1

Zhang Shuai’s resilience was too much for Bacsinszky
Neelabhra Roy

The Rio Olympics are up and running and so far, lots of exciting action have happened at Rio. The tennis tournament will be heading towards its second round of matchups today and a couple of upsets have already been created on Round-1.

Top 10 seeds Agnieszka Radwanska, Venus Williams and Roberta Vinci got knocked out in the opening rounds to lower-ranked opponents.

However, the upset department just got charged up with the addition of World No.1 Novak Djokovic who was beaten by 2009 US Open Champion and current World No. 145 Juan Martin Del Potro in the first round. As we await the second round of matchups, let’s take a look at the biggest upsets from Round-1.

#5. Timea Bacsinszky’s defeat to Zhang Shuai

This year has been pretty eventful for Zhang Shuai who began this year’s Australian Open ranked 133rd and by the end of the tournament, her ranking went up to 65th as she reached the quarter-finals of the tournament, beating the likes of Simona Halep in the process. She conquered another much higher ranked opponent at Rio in Timea Bacsinszky.The 27-year old Swiss who was seeded 12th at Rio had been having a good run of form since last year which helped her reach the Top 10 for the first time in her career. Bacsinszky took the first set via a tiebreak before Zhang made a splendid comeback to take the second set 6-4 and the third set via another tiebreak.

Zhang will now take on Germany’s Laura Siegmund in the second round. However, Bacsinszky’s stay at Rio isn’t completely as she is playing in the Women’s doubles tournament alongside the legendary Martina Hingis.

#4. Roberta Vinci’s defeat to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova

The US Open runner-up had a disappointing outing at the Singles tournament

The 33-year old Italian prevented Serena Williams from completing a calendar-year Grand Slam at last year’s US Open as she beat her in the semi-finals. Ever since Vinci, has shown some decent performances which helped her enter the Top 10 for the very first time in her career.

Prior to the Olympics, she was the 6th seed and expected to at least better her first round exit at the London Olympics.Vinci was up against 61st ranked Slovak Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the opening round. However, the 21-year old created one of the upsets of the competition by winning the match 7-5, 6-4.

Vinci’s Olympics hopes now only rest on the Doubles tournament where she will be partnering Sara Errani whereas Schmiedlova will face Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova in the next round.

#3. Agnieszka Radwanska’s defeat to Zheng Saisai

A weary Radwanska bowed out in the opening round

Poland’s top player replicated her disastrous performance at the London Olympics by crashing out in the first round to Chinese Zheng Saisai. Radwanska had been going through a good run of form ever since reaching the semi-finals of last year’s Wimbledon Championships.

Coming to Rio, Radwanska was considered to be a top medal contender and was expected to be more than a match for the likes of Williams, Kerber and Muguruza despite losing in the third round of the Rogers Cup.Radwanska had only arrived in Rio from Montreal on Wednesday night following a 55-hour journey covering 14000 km and was up against 22-year old Zheng Saisai in the first round. Radwanska’s lack of practice reflected on her game as the 64th ranked Chinese was clearly the most active player and took the first set 6-4.

In the second set, Radwanska showed a bit of resilience but it wasn’t enough to prevent her opponent from prevailing 7-5 and winning the match. Zheng will now face 19-year old Russian Daria Kasaktina in the second round.

#2. Venus Williams’ defeat to Kirsten Flipkens

It was heartbreak for the four-time gold medalist

The four-time gold medalist was showing some promising signs in the past couple of months as she reached the semis of Wimbledon in addition to reaching a World Ranking of 6th, her best since 2011. Alongside the mixed doubles, the 36-year old was considered to be one of the medal contenders at Rio.In the first round, Venus was up against 2013 Wimbledon semi-finalist Kirsten Flipkens. The former World No.1 made a good start to the match by winning the first set 6-4. However, the World No. 62 was defiant and took the second set 6-3.

Venus made a good start to the third set and was 4-1 up but was beginning to lose her composure as her opponent staged another fight-back. The third set went to a tie-break, and Flipkens won it 7-5.

It was a disastrous night for the 2000 Olympics Singles Champion. Venus’ Rio hopes came to an end completely, as she and her sister Serena crashed out of the first round at the Women’s Doubles tournament to the Czech pair of Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova. Flipkens will now take on 2015 French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova in the second round.

#1. Novak Djokovic’s defeat to Juan Martin Del Potro

Del Potro produced the biggest upset of the competition by ousting Novak Djokovic in the first round

And the list just got peppered up with the addition of the upset of the Olympics. The World No.1 was having a brilliant year, having won the Australian and French Opens and was on course to completing a calendar-Slam before being ousted by Sam Querrey at Wimbledon. Djokovic bounced back by winning the Rogers Cup and was considered a heavy favorite to bag the gold medal this time.In the first round, Djokovic was pitted up against Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro who had defeated him in the bronze medal match at the London Olympics. Their first round clash was a highly anticipated match of the tournament. The 2009 US Open Champion had made a return to the sport after taking a brief hiatus due to a wrist injury and had been in resurgent form but was considered the underdog prior to the match.

Del Potro produced a stunning upset as he beat Djokovic in straight sets just as he had beaten him in London. This win marked his 4th victory over the World No.1 and has thrown the race for the gold medal wide open for the likes of Murray, Nadal and Nishikori; not to forget Del Potro himself.

Now that he’s proved he can be more than a match for the top players, he might well replicate his performance at London or maybe better it. Djokovic will now compete in the Men’s Doubles tournament alongside Nenad Zimonjic whereas Del Potro will face Portuguese Joao Sousa in the next round.

Edited by Staff Editor


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