Which loss was more embarrassing?
2005 Roland Garros 1R: Sanchez Lorenzo def.  Myskina 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
Why it is embarrassing: She is the first Roland Garros champion (and so far the only one) who has lost in the first round. Even though her first half of the year was horrendous, the match should never have been an issue on paper. Sanchez Lorenzo would then go on to lose to Emmanuelle Gagliardi the very next round. Sanchez Lorenzo had also dropped 70 places to 109 by that point.
Why it is not embarrassing: Myskina dealt with issues regarding her mother's health the entire first half of the season, and she was still able to reach the 4R of the Australian Open, semifinals of Antwerp, quarterfinals of Dubai, and the R16 of Miami.
2005 Wimbledon 3R: Craybas def.  S. Williams 6-3, 7-6
Why is it embarrassing: Serena doesn't generally lose to many players in that ranking bracket, and it became even more difficult to find these kind of losses in Grand Slams once she was winning her majors. She was also the Australian Open champion and the year's finalist. It was a huge upset on paper, but also...
Why it is not: ...Serena was in the height of her depression, injury, weight and other personal issues around this time. She hadn't played since the Italian Open, where she lost to Schiavone tamely. And she would only play Toronto, the U.S. Open, and Beijing to round out the year and continue this period of troubles until 2007.
2005 Wimbledon R1: Daniilidou def.  Henin 7-6, 2-6, 7-5
Why it is embarrassing: Justine was on a 24 match win streak, including the titles at Charleston, Berlin, Warsaw, and Roland Garros. The defeat marked the first time any French Open champion failed to win a single round at Wimbledon. While Daniilidou is dangerous, Justine at the time had (and still has) significantly better Wimbledon credentials.
Why it isn't embarrassing: 24 match win streaks on any surface require a lot of mental and physical energy, and while many agree that Justine was not stellar at Roland Garros, she still turned it on by the end of the tournament to cruise through quality opponents in Sharapova, Petrova, and Pierce. It may have simply been that Justine no longer had the mental energy to focus on the match, and from my memory, she may have been a little injured.
2008 Rome R2: Pironkova def.  Ivanovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-2
Why it is embarrassing: Boy...out of all Ana's bad losses in her career, this seemed to be the biggest indicator of what was to come. We all know Ana is capable of losing to anyone (Zi Yan, Julie Coin, Zheng Jie) on a given day now, but back in 2008 at the Foro Italico, this Ana was the defending Roland Garros finalist, and "default" defending champion since Justine retired that very week. Bookending Rome is a SF showing as the defending Berlin champion (l. to Dementieva) and a win at Roland Garros. So WTF was this? Tsvetana is a tricky opponent, yes, but logically this match was a slam dunk. What could only be described as a slow, painful implosion occurred on Pietrangeli.
Why it's not embarrassing: Rome, as most people seemed to think at this point, was not a good indicator of who would do well at Roland Garros. That was Berlin, and Berlin played much more like Paris at the time than Rome did. One could argue that Rome was the "Madrid" of the former clay season, and played faster than most clay courts. We also realize that Ana does not respond very well seeing the  next to her name in any capacity. Pironkova also has beaten Venus Williams on grass two years in a row, so one could say that Tsvetana is a bad match up for Ana.
2008 Wimbledon 2R: Kudryavtseva def.  Sharapova 6-2, 6-4
Why it is embarrassing: Maria had only lost to the eventual champion at Wimbledon since she won the tournament in 2004. At that moment, the only other time she had lost to someone who didn't win the Championships was Kuznetsova in 2003 at her first Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round. She had always made the second week since that point. She was number one in the world at one point that year, and made a good account of herself at the French a couple weeks earlier, taking Safina to three hard hitting sets, even with a bum shoulder. Shoulder-pova of 2007-2008 still won a major, got to the final of another, and the semifinals of Roland Garros for the first time. Kudryavtseva, much like Sanchez Lorenzo, declined rapidly to 162 in the world that year, having started in the top 100.
Why it isn't embarrassing: Kudryavtseva nearly beat Venus in round one of the 2007 Wimbledon Championships, which Venus would go on to win. A very dangerous opponent on grass, her flat strokes don't provide many with a big swing with enough time to combat them. Sharapova's swings aren't loopy necessarily, but they are big. Also, as mentioned earlier, Sharapova's shoulder was at the height of its poor condition, and she would only play one more match that year and would end 2008 with a 32-5 record (37 matches played, compared to right now, when Sharapova will have contested 34 matches with a half a year still left).
2011 Roland Garros 2R: Rus def.  Clijsters 3-6, 7-5, 6-1
Why is it embarrassing: Kim, without even playing a single match on the clay season, was still the clear #2 of the year. She was the reigning U.S. Open and Australian Open champion, made the finals of the Paris Indoor tournament. Kim is also a two time finalist, with additional semifinal (2006) and 4R (2005) appearances to her name. Aranxta Rus, on the other hand, had little or no credentials in professional tennis. She was later said to find Kim as an idol. And it was clear during the match that an out of practice Clijsters could still win the match, and she placed herself in that position and collapsed. Even against Yakimova in the round previous, Kim didn't let rust get in her way.
Why it's not embarrassing: Roland Garros and red clay in general has been such a mystery with Kim. Her disdain for the surface doesn't match up with her natural gifts of movement and defense. She moves well on clay when she chooses to do so. However, she had been struggling with an ankle problem, she wasn't looking as fit as when she arrived in Melbourne in January. The conditions in the match kept getting heavier and slower, and by the time Kim and Aranxta finished, even with the new balls, the court was very slow.
Next stop: Roland Garros
Ana ('08 RG), Serena (21), Venus (7), Petra (2), Angie ('16 AO)
Vika (2), Sveta (2), Simona, Garbi
Aussie Kim, Mahree (2), Monica (9), Dokic, Sandrine, Jie
Last edited by DefyingGravity; May 21st, 2012 at 02:02 AM.