Dutch tennis player loses 17th consecutive match

LONDON — As loss after loss after loss piles up for Arantxa Rus — a record-equaling 17 in a row after her quick Wimbledon exit — at least give the Dutch tennis player credit for this: She’s not giving up.

The 156th-ranked Rus was beaten 6-4, 6-2 Tuesday by Russia’s Olga Puchkova in the first round on Court 9 at the All England Club. The WTA said the only other woman it knows of who lost 17 consecutive main-draw, tour-level matches was Sandy Collins of the U.S., who did it from 1984-87.

Vince Spadea of the U.S. went 0-21 from 1999 to 2000, the longest skid on the men’s tour, according to the ATP.

“This year is not a good year for me,” Rus said in what might be considered something of an understatement.

“I lost a lot of matches,” she continued. “Yeah, it’s hard, but I try to keep working hard. That’s the only thing you can do.”

Rus’ most recent victory in a tour-level match came last year on Aug. 19, when she defeated Romina Oprandi 7-5, 6-4 in the first round of a hard-court tournament at Grapevine, Texas. Two days later, Rus lost to Jelena Jankovic 7-6 (5), 6-2.

And so began the drought for the 22-year-old Rus, a left-hander who has been ranked as high as 61st and known some measure of success in the past. Her most notable win came at the French Open in May 2011, when she surprised second-seeded Kim Clijsters 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the second round.

Rus saved two match points that day and won 11 of the final 12 games after trailing by a set and 5-2 in the second. Her deepest run at a Grand Slam tournament also came at Roland Garros, where she made it all the way to the fourth round last year.

And as a teenager, Rus reached the No. 1 ranking among juniors and won the girls’ singles title at the 2008 Australian Open

But since that win against Oprandi, Rus has failed to win at the WTA level.

“After the last month, I played better tennis, but you need to play very good to win matches in this level,” Rus said Tuesday. “I try my best.”

She’s lost on hard courts, clay courts and grass courts. She’s lost at tournaments played outdoors and tournaments played indoors.

“Yeah, sure, there were a few matches I had chances … (to) win,” she said.

And, actually, she did win three times this season, but not on the main tour. Those victories came in lower-tier events.

So for now, all that’s left to do is stay the course and hope to come up on the right end next time.

Rus was asked Tuesday whether all of the losing has affected her away from the court.

“No, I’m still the same person,” she replied. “You have … life (apart from) tennis.”

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