Australian Open 2013: Looking Back on Biggest Overachievers at Year's First Slam

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24:  Sloane Stephens of the United States of America plays a backhand in her Semifinal match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during day eleven of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

A handful of overachievers stole the show at the 2013 Australian Open in Melbourne this January.

Although many fans were focused on the big-name stars including Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic, and rightfully so, some other tennis players emerged as legitimate contenders, overachieving in the process.

With the fortnight in Melbourne over and done with, let's look back on the three biggest overachievers at this year's Australian Open.


Jeremy Chardy 

After failing to get past the second round of the Australian Open in his first four tries, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy made a run no one saw coming in 2013, reaching the quarterfinals in Melbourne after upsetting sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in the third round.

The 25-year-old's surprise run would end when he lost in straight sets to reigning U.S. Open champion Andy Murray in the quarters, but it was an impressive effort Down Under to say the least. 

Prior to January, Chardy's deepest run at a major had been reaching the fourth round of the 2008 French Open. His four singles wins in Australia this year match his career total singles wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

No one will remember this run if Chardy doesn't follow it up with another at Roland Garros this spring, but either way, he'll always have the 2013 Australian Open.


Sloane Stephens

No player at this year's Australian Open overachieved quite like American teenager Sloane Stephens. The 19-year-old not only made a run to the women's singles semifinals, but she upset mentor and idol Serena Williams in the quarterfinals to get there.

Stephens' monster forehand was on display throughout the fortnight at Melbourne Park, as she powered her way past players who were often times more accomplished and experienced.

Although her run would come to an end in the semis against eventual women's champion Victoria Azarenka, Stephens has something to build on in 2013, and can move forward with confidence knowing that her second go-around at the year's first Grand Slam produced a semifinal appearance.


Kevin Anderson

South African Kevin Anderson came out of nowhere to reach the Round of 16 in Melbourne this January.

The relatively unknown men's player, who boasts a lengthy frame at 6'8", disposed of Paolo Lorenzi, Andrey Kuznetsov and 22nd-seeded Fernando Verdasco to reach the fourth round of the Aussie Open for the first time in his career.

The 26-year-old would fall in the fourth round to Tomas Berdych, but not before an epic third-set tiebreaker that Berdych won 15-13.

Before this year's Aussie Open, Anderson hadn't been past the third round at a major tournament. His three wins Down Under this year match his career singles win total at the French Open and trump his one career win at Wimbledon.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter