Longest H2H Losing Streaks in Tennis

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February 2, 2016 1:12 am

Most of the modern tennis tournaments have developed into a system in which each round is a loser goes home round, rather than a round-robin system. It is elimination from the get go and is hard on players because not everyone can be at their best every day. But, nothing is as frustrating as losing to the same opponent, over and over. EssentiallySports presents a list of players who have lost to the same opponent, multiple times, consecutively. The worst of those streaks.

Rafael Nadal vs Richard Gasquet

H2H : 14-1

Rafael Nadal of Spain is congratulated by France’s Richard Gasquet (L) after winning their semi-final at the Swiss Indoors ATP men’s tennis tournament in Basel, Switzerland, October 31, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

They have played each other 15 times and Gasquet won their first ever match back in 2003 after Nadal retired. Since then the tables have turned and Rafael Nadal has completely marred the game of the Frenchman in all their meetings in which the latter has managed to win only 4 sets overall. Gasquet’s game has deteriorated against Nadal overtime as he couldn’t manage to win even a single set in their last 9 meetings.

Bjorn Borg vs Vitas Gerulaitis

H2H : 16-0

In a short career that spanned 10 years, Bjorg earned quite a lot. Not only the appreciation and fan following, but 11 Grand Slam titles as well. He stopped playing majorly at the age of 27 but, he made the most out of that time and even enjoyed a great deal of rivalries in his career. He was the most dominant against the American Vitas Gerulaitis, who was his close friend as well as his practice partner. Interestingly, Vitas beat Jimmy Connors at the 1980 masters, having lost 16 straight times to him. And to which he funnily quoted,’’And let that be a lesson to you all. Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row.’’

Roger Federer vs Mikhail Youzhny

H2H : 16-0

In a journey considered to be the most respectable and impressive of all, Roger Federer has had an instrumental role in completely knocking off the career of Youzhny, Ferrer, Soderling and Lopez who could barely withstand the power and ascendancy of the maestro. The track record of these players against Federer is a staggering number, which again is a pointer to the magnitude of the greatness Roger has had.

H2Hs: 

Vs David Ferrer: 16-0
Vs Robin Soderling: 16-1
Vs Feliciano Lopez: 12-0
Vs Andy Roddick: 21-3 ; 11 in a row

Ivan Lendl vs Tim Mayotte
H2H : 17-0

The 8 time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl surely gave a hard time to top notch players like Jimmy Connors at one point. But, the silent detrimental style of play got the better of lesser known players like Tim Mayotte and Brad Gilbert during the 1980-1990 period. He had a 13 straight set win over Mayotte and 12 straight sets win over Gilbert. It won’t be wrong to declare Lendl as one of the most dominating players of 1980s.

H2H: Vs Brad Gilbert: 16-0

Ivan Lendl vs Jimmy Connors

H2H: 22-12
Streak: 17-0

Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl. Image Credits: www.rediff.com

Now, this is a rivalry where you could literally see the baton changing hands between 2 titans of different generations. This one was a blistering match-up (any match including Connors was, he made sure of that). The players’ personas were a study in contrast, with Lendl being one of the quietest player on the Tour, and Jimmy Connors being, well, Jimmy Connors. For the uninitiated, he was the original bad boy of tennis, the antithesis to your definition of the gentlemen’s game.

Lendl was 8 years younger to his American counterpart. When the rivalry started, Connors was at the top of his game, and he steamrolled Lendl 7 times in a row. Then, slowly the tide began to change. Lendl slowly reached the epoch of tennis, but Connors still kept on playing, well past the time when his peers had retired into oblivion, because, Jimmy Connors followed no conventions. Obligingly, Lendl handed Connors a pasting in each of their last 17 meetings, but, because of the sheer age gap, the numbers don’t tell the complete tale.

Serena Williams vs Maria Sharapova

H2H: 19-2
Streak: 18-0

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Image Credits: www.dailymail.co.uk

Serena Williams stands on the cusp of ‘The Grand Slam’, having won all 3 Majors last year, and, with each passing day, she just makes her case for being the greatest of all time a tad bit stronger. At the heart of this claim lies the absolute annihilation of some of the best to play with her, repeatedly. Sharapova is a prime example. The Russian beauty, has a Career Slam of her own, and has 5 Grand Slams in total. She stunned the world in 2004, when, as a 17-year-old kid, she defeated the favourite Serena Williams for the Wimbledon crown, and rocketed to superstardom. She again defeated Serena in the very next game. Big mistake. You don’t cross Serena Williams that way!

Since then, Williams has gone on a yet unbeaten streak of 18 matches, the latest one coming at Australian Open, 3 of which have been Grand Slam finals. Every time she steps on the court against Maria, it looks like she is still looking for a revenge for that 2004 Wimbledon Final defeat. An explanation as to why she lost. She demands an answer because against Maria, each shot is a bit faster than the rest, each grunt a bit louder than the rest. And at 34, she shows no signs of stopping. The Russian will do great to get one past her.

Rod Laver vs Arthur Ashe

H2H: 21-3
Streak: 18-0

Both of these legends were 2 of the finest gentlemen to grace tennis, both on-court, and off it. Fittingly, they have the main stadiums for the Australian and the US Open named after them, respectively. Laver was 5 years senior to Ashe, but, such was the mastery of the Wizard of Oz, that Ashe, one of the finest and most successful of US players, lost a whooping 18 consecutive times to him. These were their first 18 meetings. Finally, Ashe defeated Laver in the 19th attempt, in 1974, when Laver was 35. No wonder Laver remains the only player to have had a Grand Slam year in the Open Era, since such was his dominance of the best of his peers.

Arthur Ashe and Rod Laver. Credits: www.businessinsider.com.au

Rafael Nadal vs Tomas Berdych

Rafael Nadal and Thomas Berdych. Image Credits: www.telegraph.co.uk

H2H: 19-4
Streak: 18-0

The Spanish matador has fallen upon some tough times now because of his constant injury problems, but, there was time when he was the absolute best in the world, and it was for reasons like these. Against a player like Berdych, he held a streak like this. This one has a little back story of its own. Initially, Berdych was one of the bogey players for Nadal, defeating him thrice in their first 4 meetings. This happened because Nadal, initially, stood way behind the baseline, around 3 feet. Berdych, with his height and scorching ground strokes took advantage of this. But, Nadal realises this and started playing close to the baseline, nullifying the advantage Berdych had, and, of course, improving his game and taking it to an improbable level. Post the 4th match, Nadal went on an 18 match streak against his once hard to beat opponent, Berdych finally ending it in 2015, a testament to the pale shadow that Nadal has become, of the once mighty player he was.

Steffi Graf vs Nathalie Tauziat

H2H: 21-0
Streak: 21-0

Nathalie Tauziat

This H2H, ladies and gentlemen, was more one-sided than the German invasion of Poland, in 1939. Steffi Graf, played Nathalie Tauziat 21 times, across 42 sets, and won all 42 of them. Before you dismiss the French, Tauziat as some sort of a qualifier, who was unlucky enough to draw Graf each time, this woman is a former World no. 3, finishing as high as runner-up at Wimbledon. Such was the German’s overwhelming ability, and dominance, that this entire list can be replaced by Graf’s H2H victories. To give an idea of what kind of force of nature was Steffi Graf, here’s are few of her other

H2Hs:
Vs Helena Sukova (21-1)
Vs Natasha Zvereva (20-1)
Vs Manuela Maleeva (17-0)

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