- The clay surface at the French Open tends to make it less prone to huge upsets compared to the other grand slam events.
- However, there have still been some memorable moments at Roland Garros where the underdog overcame long odds to pull a shocking upset.
- We take a look at the 13 most memorable upsets from the last 40 years of the French Open.
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The French Open tends to be the one grand slam event where the status quo seems to play more often than the other grand slam events thanks to players, like Rafael Nadal, who dominate on the clay surface.
But while huge upsets are rare, there have still been many memorable moments where the underdog bucked long odds to shock the tennis world.
Below we take a look back at the 13 most memorable upsets from the last 40 years at the French Open.
2012: Virginie Razzano over Serena Williams in the first round
Serena Williams, the fifth seed, won the first set and was up 5-1 in the second set tiebreaker but ultimately lost the match to the No. 111 player in the world, Virginie Razzano of France. It was the first and only time in Williams’ career that she lost in the first round of a grand slam event. Despite seemingly hitting rock-bottom — Williams had not won a slam in two years and only reached one final in that stretch — she would go on to win the next two slams and four of the next six.
2009: Robin Söderling over Rafael Nadal in the fourth round
CYRILLE CADET/AFP/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal has won 11 grand slam titles at Roland Garros and has only lost two of his 88 matches at the French Open. The first came in 2009 to 23-seed Robin Söderling of Sweden in four sets. Top-seeded Nadal had won the previous four French Open titles and even beat Söderling 6-1, 6-0 a month earlier on clay. Söderling eventually reached the final but lost to Roger Federer for his only career win at the French Open.
2004: Tathiana Garbin over Justine Hénin-Hardenne in the second round
From 2003 through 2007, Justine Hénin won four French Open titles. Her only loss came in 2004 to unseeded and 86th-ranked Tathiana Garbin of Italy in straight sets as the top-seeded Henin battled a virus. It was the earliest exit for a defending grand slam champ in 15 years.
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