Losing a match you should have won

Tianjin Open, China

It is sometimes harder to relax when you know that you should win.  There is a mixture of excitement at the prospect of an easy victory, while at the same time, dread at the possibility of losing.  At this level, any player is a threat and losing a match is always possible. The prospect of an upset victory can be very appealing for some fans, especially if they favor the lower ranked player.

[CR39] Varvara Lepchenko (USA) should have been the more confident player, she won their two previous encounters; however, matches are not played on paper.  Lepchenko had to consistently perform at a higher level than [CR62] Alison Riske (USA) in order to win.  Lepchenko fell apart mentally while serving for the set, up 5-1 and 30-0; although she tried to regain her composure in the second set, she could not.  Riske won the match 7-6(5), 6-3, and Lepchenko will have to figure out what went wrong.

Tennis at its best is when two players compete simultaneously at their highest level.  It is probably easier to get over a match that you lost because you did not give it your best than to get over a loss when you competed at your highest level.  That loss can weigh on your mind and gradually weaken your confidence. It takes a toll and in the end, the cycle of desire and fear may succeed in preventing you from gaining that which you most desire, a singles tour title.  The hesitancy created by this mental state of desire and fear may explain why some players who have been on tour for years are unable to claim their first singles title despite being talented players.

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