Tonight, the men’s basketball teams of the University of Wisconsin and Duke University tipped off to see which of the programs would be crowned the 2015 NCAA Division I men’s basketball champions. At the end of 40 minutes of play tonight, however, viewers will get the chance to relive the weeks of frenzy that grips much of the United States (sorry, Europe) each spring in a neatly-packaged moment.
“One Shining Moment,” that is.
The “national anthem of college basketball,” according to Buzzfeed’s Erik Malinowski, accompanies the annual clip show that closes out CBS Sports’ broadcast of the tournament each year. The montage showcases all the highs of the past month’s festivities, set to the dulcet tones of Luther Vandross.
The tennis version of “March Madness” came to an end on Sunday, closing the book on four weeks of North American hard court tennis — and the first third of the 2015 tennis season — before the ATP and WTA tours make the transition to clay. While the champions in Indian Wells and Miami weren’t all that surprising, three months of tennis gave us three months’ worth of stories — and much like their counterparts in men’s college basketball this March, these stories often came from places no one expected when the year began.
Over the first three months of the 2015 season, six players (three men, three women), from all walks of tennis life, recorded their first career victory over a top 10 player.
d. Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4, 6-4, Indian Wells R3
Watson turned the tables on Agnieszka Radwanska, against whom she was 0-3 and 0-6 in sets, in the third round of Indian Wells. Watson broke Radwanska’s serve five times to move into the fourth round at a WTA Premier Mandatory event for the first time.
d. Andrea Petkovic, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, Indian Wells R2;
d. Eugenie Bouchard, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4, Indian Wells R4
Lesia Tsurenko’s first career top 10 win over Andrea Petkovic might not have been televised from the desert of Indian Wells…but her second certainly made up for it. The Ukrainian’s run in the desert elevated her from TTI’s best kept secret to California darling, and her fourth-round victory over Eugenie Bouchard — medical timeouts, comebacks, unforced errors and all — truly put the “madness” in March Madness.
d. Grigor Dimitrov, 7-5, 4-6, 6-0, Acapulco R3
“No top tenner beats Ryan Harrison 23 times in a row!” #orsomething
After going 0-22 against the world’s top 10 to begin his career, the American bested defending champion Grigor Dimitrov en route to a semifinal showing in Acapulco.
d. Milos Raonic, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3), Marseille R2
Speaking of breaking streaks of futility against the world’s elite, Simone Bolelli finally ended an infamous one on the singles court. After becoming a Grand Slam doubles champion alongside Fabio Fognini Down Under, the Italian’s 0-35 record against the world’s top 10 finally came to an end against Milos Raonic in Marseille in February. His dubious streak was the longest in men’s tennis since 1968.
d. Maria Sharapova, 7-6(5), 6-3, Miami R2
Daria Gavrilova’s second round upset of Maria Sharapova in Miami was the culmination of a long 18 months of work for the soon-to-be (in tennis terms, of course) Australian. A year ago, Gavrilova was sitting home during the 2014 Miami Open while recovering from a torn ACL, and didn’t return to the match courts until the summer.
For what it’s worth, Gavrilova’s “one shining moment” might just stand the test of time — after all, GIFs have no expiration date.
d. Stan Wawrinka, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), Miami R3
Mannarino’s “moment” in Miami (say that five times fast) came at the expense of Stan Wawrinka. In Key Biscayne, the Frenchman upset the 2014 Australian Open champion in two tiebreak sets to equal his best result at an ATP Masters 1000 event. Mannarino, who was ranked outside the top 100 just eight short months ago, is currently having the best stretch of his career. After reaching the final in Auckland to open the season, and reaching the second week in both Indian Wells and Miami, Mannarino is currently knocking on the door of the world’s top 30.
Sometimes, the moment comes calling more than once. Three other players who would’ve fit right in on this team — Michael Berrer, Zarina Diyas and Tatjana Maria — almost made this list, but their victories over Rafael Nadal (Doha), Petkovic (Dubai) and Bouchard (Miami), were their third, second and second career top 10 wins.
Which top 10 win was most memorable, and who might be next in line? Sound off in the comments!