Home History The Lowest Seeds to Reach a Men’s Grand Slam Final in Recent Years

The Lowest Seeds to Reach a Men’s Grand Slam Final in Recent Years

by GP

The 2024 tennis season is already well underway, but in a couple of months, things will ramp up a notch when the Grand Slam season kicks off. Additionally, we have already seen one slam event so far this term, and it resulted in a first-time winner. That of course was Jannik Snner, who reigned supreme on the hard courts of the Australian Open at the expense of Russian star Danll Medvedev. 

The Italian had never made it to a major final before however, he managed to hold his nerve to dispatch his higher-ranked opponent in a five-set thriller, rallying from two sets to love down in the process. 

We will be almost four months removed from that Melbourne showpiece however when the French Open gets underway on May 20th. Last year’s beaten semifinalist Carlos Alcaraz has been made the +175 betting favorite by popular tennis odds for the showdown on the famed clay courts, and it remains to be seen as to whether he can build on the two slams he has already won in his relatively young career. He has also been made a favorite for success at Wimbledon barely two months later, the tournament he won in stunning fashion last year when he knocked off Novak Djokovic in one of the all-time great finals at the All-England club. 

That particular contest was a battle between the top two ranked players in the world. However, that isn’t always the case on occasion, underdogs rise to the fore and make it all the way to the championship game. Here are four such occasions where that has happened in recent years. 

Wimbledon 2022 – Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios’s run to the 2022 Wimbledon final is perhaps one of the most spectacular underdog stories in recent tennis history. Known more for his mercurial talent and on-court antics rather than his consistency and commitment, the Australian headed to the All-England club unseeded however, he embarked on a remarkable journey that saw him reach his first Grand Slam final. The highlight of his run to the finals was an ill-tempered victory over fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round. 

A straight sets win over fellow unseeded star Cristian Garín was supposed to set up a mouthwatering meeting with Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. However, the King of Clay withdrew before a ball was served with an injury. 

As such, the Australian moved into the final by default, becoming the first unseeded player to reach a Slam final since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 20008 Australian Open. In the final, he met frenemy Novak Djokovic and despite a valiant effort, it was the Serbian GOAT that ran out victorious. 

2017 US Open – Kevin Anderson

South Africa’s Kevin Anderson entered the 2017 US Open as the 28th seed, with few anticipating a march into the latter stages of the tournament. The unheralded starlet’s towering serve and forehand powered him through the draw, with his resilience and determination on full display as he knocked off the likes of home favorite Sam Querrey along the way. 

With 50% of the “Big Four” – namely Djokovic and Andy Murray – withdrawing from the tournament with injury, the door was wide open for an underdog, and it was Anderson who bowled through it. 

His semi-final victory over Pablo Carreno Busta was a masterclass in big-match temperament, setting up a historic appearance in the final against the beaten semifinalist Spanish compatriot, Rafael Nadal. While the South African was unable to secure a victory – losing in straight sets to the number one player in the world at the time – his presence in the final was the culmination of his life’s work. 

Wimbledon 2018 – Novak Djokovic

While Novak Djokovic is considered the greatest tennis player of all time – a point of view aided by his whopping 24 Grand Slam titles – he headed to Wimbledon six years ago as a lowly 12th seed. However, that ranking was somewhat deceptive and belied his true capabilities. The Serbian supremo was returning from injury and a dip in form, making his seeding somewhat deceptive, a former champion and world number two Nadal found out in the semifinals. 

Once again, Kevin Anderson made his way to the final, his second at a Slam in less than a year, and he was surprisingly ranked higher than Djokovic, entering the tournament as the eighth seed. 

He knocked off reigning champion Roger Federer in the quarterfinals despite finding himself two sets to love down, but he wasn’t able to find a way past Nole. The Serbian ran out a straight sets victor, lifting the famous gold trophy for the fourth time in his career and the first time in three years. 

Wimbledon 2021 – Matteo Berrettini

Italian power-server Matteo Berrettini’s ascent to the 2021 Wimbledon final marked him as a player to watch. Seeded 7th, he utilized his formidable serve and forehand to dismantle opponents and become the first Italian man to reach a Wimbledon final. There he met the incomparable Djokovic, and despite a spirited performance, succumbed in four sets

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