Having such a dismal clay season is really a bummer. I know some of it has to do with shitty luck, but I'm also not ignoring the fact that when Sam really should step up her game in the face of non-goat opponents, she crumbles. Sure, it's hard to determine how successful her clay season would have been without the injury combined with bad draws, weather, etc., but I'm not so sure she is playing like a top 10 player right now. In fact, as much as I hate to say this (because I don't want to believe it), the last time she played like a top player with a strong drive to win was against Azarenka at the USO last year.
There, I said it. **runs away**
I agree with you in most respects. The frustrating thing is that I get the sense that potentially Sam is not far removed from her very best form now, and that it's her confidence that keeps breaking down rather than her game itself.
The thing that has me worried is that I have the feeling that she's developing the same kind of mental block for RG as she already has for Wimbledon and the AO. I think this last loss against JJ was the worst of her RG losses in the last 4 years.
As bad as her losses to Dulko and Errani were, both those players did stuff that contributed to that loss. They needed some pretty poor play from Sam to get a foot in the door so to speak, but once they got that, they played really smart tennis to drag Sam even further from her comfort zone. JJ is capable of doing that as well, but in Saturday's match she did very little except keep the ball in play (expect the last few games, where she really stepped it up). For most of the match it was just good Sam vs bad Sam.
I'm hoping that as she plays more Sam will eventually get a grip on the doubts that have plagued her for most of this year. I think she still desperately wants to do well (this is the only part of your post I disagree with), but so far every time she looks like breaking free from those doubts and unleashing her big game, they sneak back in and just paralyze her.