Year 2018 saw some of the biggest sporting events in the world including FIFA World Cup, Hockey World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. While there were some expected results and some new champions as well, the year also saw some big upsets that had the whole world talking. With the year coming to an end, let us look back at some of the biggest upsets of the year 2018.
Serena Williams loses to inexperienced Osaka in New York
In one of the most unexpected results, Serena Williams failed to make history at the US Open as she lost a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title 6-2, 6-4 to Naomi Osaka, who delivered her first major win in her first major final.
In one of the most controversial Grand Slam finals in recent years, the crowd booed and Serena lost her cool at the umpire in the second set. The chair umpire Carlos Ramos warned Serena that her coach allegedly made hand signals to assist the tennis star, which is a code violation. Upset by the violation, Williams screamed at the coach, “You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life! I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her. I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose.”
An upset Serena later smashed her racket on the court and called Carlos a ‘thief’ for stealing her point. Serena eventually lost the match which was followed by an awkward ceremony, with the crowd booing and the American tennis star consoling a crying Osaka.
Indian Kabaddi teams going down to Iran
At the last Asian Games in 2014, which took place after the inaugural season of the PKL, India won the gold with a nervy two-point win over Iran. This year, the Indian men’s Kabaddi team saw an unexpected 27-18 loss to Iran in the semifinals to end their 28-year golden run. The Indian side had dominated the Asian Games for almost three decades before failing to make it to the final in a game that originated in the country.
If the men faltered in the semis, the women went one step ahead of their male counterparts but also came out second best to Iran. Defending champions India lost 24-27 in a thrilling Asian Games final. The defeat meant India were denied a third straight gold medal.
Germany losing to Korea in FIFA World Cup
Every four years, the FIFA World Cup sees a few unexpected performances. This year, it was defending champions Germany, who failed to even qualify for the knockouts. The Germans, who have won four World Cups and finished runners-up four times, entered this year’s tournament as favourites to win the title.
Germany suffered a stunning 2-0 defeat by a tenacious South Korea after a 1-0 opening match loss to Mexico to crash out of the World Cup. It was the first time in 80 years that Germany had been eliminated in the opening round.
India women lose to Bangladesh in Women’s Asia Cup
Six-time defending champions India suffered a three-wicket defeat against Bangladesh in the final of the Women’s Asia Cup Twenty20 cricket tournament at the Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur. After two facile wins over Thailand and Malaysia, India put up a below-par batting performance, scoring 141 for seven in the 20 overs, which Bangladesh surpassed in 19.4 overs.
India gave another disappointing performance in World T20 semifinals against England, struggling with the bat to go down by eight wickets to end the dream of a maiden World T20 title. Their campaign in Antigua ended in controversy as fans lashed out at Harmanpreet and Ramesh Powar for not including the experienced former captain Mithali Raj in the semifinal squad.
Novak Djokovic’s shock defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas
Fresh after becoming the Wimbledon champion, Novak Djokovic, who was in his fittest and finest form, was tipped to take another title as he went into the Rogers Cup. The Serb, however, was in for a shock defeat as his campaign came to an abrupt end by a Greek teenager called Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals. Tsitsipas sent the four-time Rogers Cup champion home by giving him his first of just three post-Wimbledon defeats.
Argentina’s defeat to lowest-ranked France in Hockey World Cup
The last time France played in Hockey World Cup was 28 years back, finishing seventh. Ironically, their last match in the World Cup 1990 was against Argentina, who were one of the favourites to win the Hockey World Cup taking place in Bhubaneswar. The Olympic champions, however, saw a shocking 5-3 defeat to lowest-ranked participating team France in the last pool stage match. In the process, France also pushed eighth-placed Spain out of the tournament.
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