During the early years of Open Era tennis, women's tennis was dominated by key top players. Only in recent times, is women's tennis gained significant depth and we have numerous different Grand Slam champions or number ones. Therefore, the sport's upset are very significant when they occur. Here are some of the biggest upsets:
1. 1994 Wimbledon - Steffi Graf vs Lori McNeil
Steffi Graf was a three time defending champion, who had one 5 of the last 6 Wimbledons. She was the world number 1 and at the age of 25 she was already an all-time great. Generally, Steffi losing in Semi Finals was a shock at this stage, but in 1994 she fell in the first round.
This was huge shock, although she was unlucky to draw a grass court specialist Top 20 player. Lori McNeil had even beaten Steffi a couple of years before and her aggressive style of play was perfect for Wimbledon. Indeed, many people felt that Lori was the most dangerous floater, but surely not to beat Steffi Graf.
However, after a very close and exciting two set battle. Lori was victorious 7-5 7-6 and the top seed and defending champion was sent home.
2. 1999 Wimbledon - Martina Hingis vs Jelena Dokic
Martina Hingis, the 1997 Champion, was beaten comprehensively by Jelena Dokic. After a tense and emotional defeat at the hands of the Veteran, Steffi Graf, at Roland Garros, Hingis was handed a huge upset.
However, Jelena Dokic again was a very tough draw, she was one of the most promising players on the tour and soon to be a consistent Top 10 player herself.
3. 2012 Roland Garros - Serena Williams vs Virginie Razzano
Serena may not have had the consistent dominance of Graf, but when she is playing her best few of her counterparts can challenge her. In the Summer of 2012, Serena had started to show to dominance that she would continue as swept to a 5th Wimbledon, 1st US Open, Season Ending Championships and Olympic Gold Medal. She had trounced all opposition at Charleston, including Sam Stosur (her conqueror in the 2011 US Open Final). Then in Madrid, she beat Wozniacki, Azarenka and Sharapova.
Pundits were listing Serena as the overwhelming favourite in Paris, despite her last championship being ten years ago, in 2002.
The first round against Virginie Razzano was expected to be very one-sided, but it end with Razzano the victor in three sets.
There are other great upsets including: Kathy Horvath's win over Martina Navratilova at the 1984 French Open, Kathy Jordan beating Chris Evert at the 1983 Wimbledon title and Tatiana Garbin's victory over Justine Henin at the 2004 Roland Garros. Of course there have been numerous more, but I have selected these due to their drama.