The 2017 Australian Open has been full of surprises.
The first week of the grand slam tournament has been filled with more unexpected victories than any major tennis competition in recent years. Both of the world’s top singles players were beaten by unseeded opposition in the fourth round while veteran players like Venus Williams achieved history-making victories. Here are five developments that caught us by surprise:
1. Venus Williams becomes oldest Australian Open finalist in Open Era history
Thirty-six year old Venus made Australian Open history when she beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the semifinals on Tuesday. This will be the veteran’s first Australian Open semifinals appearance in 14 years.
Venus exuberantly celebrated after the 1 hour 48 minute match by blowing a kiss into the air, twirling around the court and hugging herself. The tournament marks a rare occasion where Serena Williams, 35, could come in second place to her sister. If Serena advances to the semifinals, she’ll become the second oldest Australian Open women’s semifinalist in the Open Era.
2. Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic loses to Denis Istomin
Thirty-year-old Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, ranked 117 in the world, pulled off a massive upset by beating six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic in the second round. Djokovic, 29, of Serbia, is ranked second in the world and has only lost a match to one other player outside the top 100 in the last seven years, CNN reports.
3. Andy Murray is upset by Mischa Zverev
Just three days after Djokovic was knocked out in the second round, top-ranked Andy Murray followed. Murray, 29, lost to Mischa Zverev, ranked 50, in a fourth-round match on Sunday.
The last time neither Djokovic nor Murray reached the quarterfinals at a major event came in 2007, the New York Times reports. “Just wasn’t meant to be,” Murray said after the match.
4. Roger Federer’s amazing rebound
The 35-year-old became the oldest men’s semifinalist at the Australian Open in 39 years after winning a quarter-final match against Mischa Zverev on Tuesday. He told reporters he wasn’t expecting to reach the semi-finals after a six-month injury lay-off, the BBC reports. The 17-time Grand Slam winner has not won a Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2012, and spent the second half of last year sidelined by a knee injury.
“If someone would have told me I’d play in the semis against Stan, never would I have called that one,” he said, referring to his next match against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka.
5. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni’s surprising rallying cry upon reaching quarter-finals after 18 years of trying
When the 34-year-old Croatian comeback, whose last grand slam quarter-final appearance was in 1999, beat American qualifier Jennifer Brady for a spot in the quarter-finals on Sunday, she shared a special message for the haters.
“Eff everything and everybody who ever tells you you can’t do it,” Lucic-Baroni said during the on-court interview, according to Reuters. “Just show up and do it with your heart.”