There has seldom been a French Open this unpredictable. This is the first time in the Open era (since 1968) that the top three seeds in the women’s singles draw have failed to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam. This also marks the first time in the Open era that both the men’s and women’s singles champions from the last Grand Slam have lost in the first round of the next one. China’s Li Na and Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, the winners at the Australian Open in January, lost in the first round in Paris. Switzerland’s Roger Federer, who won in Paris in 2009, also lost in the fourth round—his worst result there in 10 years.

But there have been even bigger upsets in the history of the French Open. Here are our picks.

French Open Men’s single


1989, final

Michael Chang beats Stefan Edberg

6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2


1983, final

Yannick Noah beats Mats Wilander

6-2, 7-5, 7-6


1982, 4th round

Mats Wilander beats Ivan Lendl

4-6, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2


2004, final

Gaston Gaudio beats Guillermo Coria

0-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 8-6


2009, 4th round

Robin Söderling beats Rafael Nadal

6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-6 (2)

French Open Women’s single


1999, final

Steffi Graf beats Martina Hingis

4-6, 7-5, 6-2


1983, 4th round

1989, final

Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario beats Steffi Graf

7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-5

Trailing 3-5 in the final set, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario came back and rallied off the final set’s last four games to claim the title. At the time, she became the youngest woman to lift the singles title at 17 years and five months. She held on to that record only for a year, before Monica Seles broke it.


1997, final

Iva Majoli beats Martina Hingis

6-4, 6-2

In 1997, Hingis was unbeaten before the French Open. She had just risen to the top of the women’s rankings two months earlier, at just 16 years and six months. In the final, though, Majoli overpowered her. Later, Majoli never really lived to her potential. Apart from this win, she didn’t cross the quarter-final stage of any Slam. Hingis was quick to recover from the loss and went on to win six titles in the same year, including two Slams, to cap one of her best years on the tour.


1993, quarter-final

Mary Joe Fernandez beats Gabriela Sabatini

1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 10-8


1983, 4th round

Kathleen Horvath beats Martina Navratilova

6-4, 0-6, 6-3

Horvath later said she was so thrilled about the win that she lost focus, and her very next match. The pair met seven times after that day. Navratilova won them all and never lost a set.

All these matches are not equal in their order of importance.

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