Best tennis upsets of the men’s tour in 2019

Tennis Pilot

Tuesday, November 26, 2019 11:46 AM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 11:46 AM UTC

Read the best tennis upsets of the year.
<div><p>We finished the season with a near miss as GB lost 2-1 to Spain in the semi finals. Jamie/Skupski lost the deciding doubles rubber 7-6 7-6 despite winning 51% of points, so we can count ourselves a tad unlucky. Nonetheless, it has been an excellent season with <a href="" target="_blank" title="Oddsmarket Tennis Odds">Oddsmarket</a> overall and, with the tennis now over, it’s time to look back at some of the highlights. Going over the best upsets of the year is always a rewarding pursuit and we’ve had some crackers in 2019.</p><p style="text-align:center"><a href=";a=f339dce1-88de-4994-ab6a-c24e019bdf3b&amp;f=3"><img alt src="" style="width:100%" /></a></p><h2>Nick Kyrgios vs Rafael Nadal – ATP Acapulco</h2><p>It’s hard to find a better player to watch when motivated than Nick Kyrgios and he was more than up for this match. In front of a booming, high energy crowd in the party town of Acapulco, the Aussie came back from a set down to win 3-6 7-6 7-6. Nadal gave it his all and matched Kyrgios toe to toe right up until the last, but Kyrgios was sublime in all the key moments and took the match away from the Spaniard.</p><p> </p><h2>Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Novak Djokovic – Indian Wells Masters</h2><p>There has long been a trend of Kohlschreiber struggling to close out matches against the big 3 and the German had lost 8 of the last 9 against Novak coming into this match. Despite his talent, Philipp hadn’t been able to handle the pressure in the big moments, frequently giving up the lead and fading badly. Not this time. Novak was below his best but take nothing away from Kohlschreiber. He executed excellently to win 6-4 6-4, and as the score suggests, he gave nothing away on the day.</p><p> </p><h2>Fabio Fognini vs Rafael Nadal – Monte Carlo Masters</h2><p>Not many players can touch Nadal on clay, especially at Monte Carlo, where his record is second only to at the French Open. The Spaniard is often unplayable in these conditions where just holding serve become an achievement. Fognini is famously mercurial and one of the rare few who can push Nadal on clay. Even then, the result was unprecedented, with Fognini winning 6-4 6-2, playing one of the best tennis matches on clay that you will ever see. Nadal described it as one of his worst performances ever, but I am suspicious – it looked like he was simply unable to do anything against the barrage of winners fired down by Fabio. A truly remarkable match and well worth rewatching.</p><p> </p><h2>Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Rafael Nadal – Madrid Masters</h2><p>Tsitsipas was the Achilles heel for the big 3 in 2019, with especially excellent records against Novak and Federer, but Nadal didn’t get away easy either. After Nadal had taken Tsitsipas to pieces 6-2 6-4 6-0 at the Australian Open one might expect the Greek to struggle going forward, but instead he won their next meeting, and not only that, he won on Spanish clay. It was an excellent match and Nadal looked to be in the ascendancy when he won the second set 6-2, but as Federer has said, Tsitsipas is ‘tough as nails’ and he kept it together to win 6-3 in the third.</p><p> </p><h2>Dominic Thiem vs Novak Djokovic – French Open</h2><p>After an excellent tournament for both players their semi final meeting was highly anticipated, and it delivered. The expert defence and adaptability of Djokovic was pushed to its limit by the sublime heavy hitting, power orientated style of Thiem. They traded sets until the fifth where Thiem managed to win 7-5 in one of the most physical matches of the year.</p><p> </p><h2>Grigor Dimitrov vs Roger Federer – US Open</h2><p>Dimitrov has long been nicknamed ‘baby Fed’ by virtue of the similarity in style, but Grigor had struggled badly against his ‘dad’ with a 0-7 record coming into this match. Most fans expected more of the same (I certainly did), but the Bulgarian stunned viewers with a sublime vein of form to win 6-2 in the fifth. He came back from 2 sets to 1 down and managed to play his best tennis under pressure, something which had eluded Dimitrov in the past. As with Kohlschreiber’s win over Djokovic, there was something very cathartic about watching Dimitrov overcome his mental struggles against Federer, and I say that even as a Federer fan.</p><p> </p><h2>Dominic Thiem vs Novak Djokovic – ATP Finals</h2><p>This match was important for several reasons, mainly because of Thiem’s poor record on the surface, but also his weak record in quick conditions against Novak. Both of these form lines were reversed in a 3 set epic where Thiem came back from the brink in the deciding set tiebreak to win 6-7 6-3 7-6. In the past, Novak had been able to rush Thiem in quick conditions and neutralise his heavy hitting style, but Thiem played just that bit smarter than usual on the day and, based on his energy levels, it seems his coaching change has lead to much better scheduling for the later weeks of the year. Either way, my instinct is that the change is here to stay and Novak should be very worried if Thiem starts beating him regularly in quick conditions.</p><p> </p><h2>Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic – ATP Finals</h2><p>After Federer’s stunning collapse against Djokovic in the Wimbledon final this match had an extra layer of importance – would the Swiss maestro be able to recover? To lose from 40-15 up on serve with two match points is.. well.. devastating, even for Roger. Djokovic hadn’t lost to Federer since 2015 (though at this event) and all things considered it seemed likely that this trend would continue. That was until they stepped on court, and Federer couldn’t put a foot wrong, deploying the hyper aggressive style we have seen him use so successfully against Rafa since his injury comeback. Djokovic didn’t look 100% fit, as has often been the case in 2019, but nonetheless this was a masterclass in early ball striking, aggressive play and strong serving under pressure.</p></div>
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