French Open 2018: As Maria Sharapova looks to end drought against Serena Williams, a look at top five losing streaks in sports
As Sharapova looks to end her 18-match winning run against Serena Williams, here's a look at the top five losing streaks in the history of sports.
Maria Sharapova faces Serena Williams in the French Open fourth round on Monday, desperate to end a miserable 18-match losing streak to the American dating back to 2004.
The Russian has only managed to take three sets off Williams during that run, with Serena winning their last seven meetings in straight sets.
But Sharapova can take some solace in the fact that she's not alone — here are five memorable losing streaks from the world of sport:
The Curse of the Billy Goat
Perhaps the most infamous drought was the Chicago Cubs' wait for an MLB title after the Curse of the Billy Goat in 1945. After being asked to leave Wrigley Field because of the smell of his pet goat, Billy Sianis supposedly said that the team would "win no more". The Cubs had to wait until 2016 to end the drought — having lost four consecutive National League Championship series since losing the 1945 World Series — going on to add a first World Series crown since 1908 to boot.
Bangladesh's tough test
Bangladesh were granted Test cricket status in 2000, becoming the 10th top-level nation, but embarked on a record-breaking 21-match losing streak between 2001-2003. The team were widely-criticised by both pundits from other countries and their own fans, before finally stopping the rot against Zimbabwe. Habibul Bashar's men didn't do much to earn their second Test draw, though, with rain for three days saving their blushes.
207 defeats in a row
The Caltech college men's basketball team suffered 207 consecutive losses from 1996 to 2007. The California-based outfit from an exclusive school of only 1,000 students also lost 310 straight conference games. Their plight became a documentary called 'Quantum Hoops', with the tagline 'before they change the world, they need to win one game'.
Benevento whipping boys
Italian Serie A new boys Benevento had a horrific start to last season in their debut top-flight campaign, losing 14 consecutive matches. The way they ended their run may end up better remembered than their previous struggles, though, as goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli's flying injury-time header earned them a 2-2 draw with AC Milan.
Gasquet's 16 against Nadal
Back to tennis, and Richard Gasquet saw his wait for a Tour-level win over childhood friend and old junior rival Rafael Nadal extended to 16 matches in the French Open third round on Saturday. The ruthless Spaniard has had the better of his French rival since turning professional, with Nadal now having won 28 consecutive sets against his fellow 31-year-old since 2008.
Naomi Osaka admitted to battling with depression and not finding the joy in wins. She hopes to put that and knowledge of her clay record aside at the French Open.
Iga Swiatek with her 28-match winning streak is the clear favourite to win the women's singles title at the 2022 French Open but one mustn't forget that the Grand Slam has had surprising winners over the years.
Monfils, who had reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open earlier this year, had struggled on clay and had already pulled out in Monte Carlo and in Barcelona