We all know a choker when we see him, but do you remember tennis biggest chokers at the big stage? Here are 5 matches that should have ended differently:
- Kim Clijsters vs Serena Williams – 2003 Australian Open semi-final.
It might be unfair to call any defeat to Serena Williams a choke, but Kim Clijsters would herself admit that it was sheer madness that she didn’t make it to the 2003 Australian Open final despite being 5-1 up in the deciding set. Serena Williams spectacularly won six straight games to take the final set 7-5. Clijsters gracefully admitted defeat: “I’m not disappointed, you know, if she’s playing her best tennis, it’s very hard to beat her. That’s what she did at the end.”
Final Score: Williams beat Clijsters 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
- Tim Henman vs. Goran Ivanisevic – 2001 Wimbledon semi-final.
Tiger Tim was Britain’s big hope to lift the Wimbledon title long before Andy Murray arrived on the scene. On this occasion, he was two sets to one up against the big serving lefty Goran Ivanisevic, having taken the third set emphatically 6-0! Just when all of Britain thought they’d see Tim Henman at the finals, out came the umbrellas. The rain delay helped Goran get back into the swing of things and stifle any Brit hopes. Ivanisevic admitted: “God wanted me to win this game – he sent the rains.”
Final Score: Ivanisevic beat Henman 7-5, 6-7, 0-6, 7-6, 6-3
- David Nalbandian vs. Marcos Baghdatis – 2006 Australian Open semi-final.
The unseeded and unfavoured Cypriot had famously defeated Andy Roddick in the quarter-finals and any hopes of a repeat seemed bleak with the fourth seed Nalbadian two sets to love up. Through sheer grit, Baghdatis managed to find the form that had got him there and leveled the match at two sets apiece. Drama ensued right till the end as Nalbadian surrendered a 4-2 lead to hand the match to the joyous Cypriot who said: “I’ll have to wake up and check if I’m dreaming – it’s amazing.”
Final Score: Baghdatis beat Nalbandian 3-6, 5-7, 6-3. 6-3. 6-4
- Roger Federer vs. Lleyton Hewitt – 2003 Davis Cup semi-Final.
One of the candidates for the GOAT title, Roger Federer was taking the tennis world by storm after his championship win at Wimbledon. A break up in the third set, having won the first two, Federer seemed to be untouchable at that point. Yet, a gritty Hewitt managed to break back and take the third in a tie-breaker. The Australian’s dogged spirit could not be matched by the graceful Swiss master, with Hewitt taking the final set 6-1. He exclaimed: “This beats the hell out of winning Wimbledon and the US Open.”
Final Score: Hewitt beat Federer 5-7, 2-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-1
- Guillermo Coria vs. Gaston Gaudio – 2004 French Open final.
The 2004 “Battle of the Argentines” delighted and surprised all those who witnessed the encounter on Court Philippe Chatrier. Having raced to a two set lead, Coria lost a tight third set. In the end, a combination of dehydration, cramps and a lack of self belief ended Coria’s hopes of lifting the trophy. A delighted Gaudio admitted: “I don’t know how I won.”
Final Score: Gaudio beat Coria 0-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 8-6