Ana Ivanovic discovered there was no where to hide at Flushing Meadows as she slumped out of the US Open in the first round with a 2-6 6-3 7-6 defeat by Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko.
The Serbian 11th seed, who has struggled with her form all season, summed up her run as "frustrating and disappointing" after she was beaten in the opening round of a major for the first time in her career.
Ivanovic opted to take refuge under the tournament's official towel during the changeovers but that failed to put off Bondarenko, who saved a match point before burying the 2008 French Open champion's title hopes.
"It hurts. I'm sure I will have sleepless nights," said Ivanovic, who was ranked on top of the world just a year ago.
"I created a lot of chances for myself, and I'm really disappointed that I made a few mistakes in the important moments and my forehand let me down on a few occasions.
"But I have to accept it and try to put this year behind me, and try to learn from it."
The 21-year-old Ivanovic looked to have staged a great escape when she clawed back from a 4-1 down in the decider and then earned match point at 6-5 in the tiebreak.
But she blew her chance and even when she watched Bondarenko double fault on her first match point, she could not gather her wits.
Instead, it was her opponent who never lost belief and the Ukrainian sealed a memorable victory after almost 2-1/2 hours of high drama when Ivanovic smacked a forehand into the net.
"It was really dramatic and emotional. My box (supporters) was screaming 'you can do it' and I believed them," the 52nd-ranked Bondarenko said with a smile.
After a season in which she failed to get past the fourth round of any of the four majors or even win a title on the regular tour, Ivanovic felt she needed to reassess her game.
"I've been thinking about everything too much and trying to address lots of issues with my game," said the bubbly Serbian.
"My fitness is at one level, mind at another, my game is at another level. All these things have to marry to get into the right direction and have to fit."