Baseline is looking back at some of the biggest upsets of the 2000s at the Miami Open.

Having made a successful debut in Davis Cup as a 16-year-old in 2004, Novak Djokovic cruised through his next two rubbers in 2005 before he was introduced to the true nuances of the international team competition.

Up two sets to one against Belgium’s Olivier Rochus in the second round of zonal competition, the world No. 33 rallied for a five-set win. When the two faced each other again later in the year, Rochus dealt the teenager a more routine loss indoors in Lyon, France.

Djokovic finally managed to turn the tide on Rochus when they met in 2009 in Halle, Germany, on grass. By that time, the Serb had settled into his role as one of the game’s best players, having captured his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open the year prior.

Starting the 2010 season at No. 3 in the world, Djokovic rose to No. 2 after the Australian Open and soon captured his first title of the year in Dubai. Afterward, he posted two wins in Davis Cup and ran his winning streak to nine before it came to a halt in the fourth round in Indian Wells.

Miami Upsets of the
2000s: Rochus stuns

Miami Upsets of the 2000s: Rochus stuns Djokovic


Next on the calendar was the Masters event in Miami, the site of Djokovic’s first breakthrough at that level when he won the 2007 edition of the tournament. After an opening-round bye, Djokovic faced a somewhat-familiar foe in Rochus, who eliminated Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the first round.

Starting off confidently, the world No. 59 raced through the first set, taking it 6-2. In the second set, the two played to a tiebreaker and Djokovic went down a quick mini-break. He managed to rally and finally clinched the breaker 9-7 to level the match.

Djokovic had an opportunity to gain an early foothold in the decider, but missed his opportunity to break in the opening game. Rochus accomplished what the world No. 2 couldn’t in the second game and stayed in front until the ninth game when Djokovic got it back on serve. Trying to stay in the match, though, Djokovic was undone by double faults and missed groundstrokes, with the last forehand error giving Rochus the victory.

Though he lost in the next round, Rochus punched a major hole in the draw and perhaps showed his early success against Djokovic was no fluke.