Losing to a Tournament’s Eventual Champion in 2022: WTA

By Jack Edward

Hello again guys! 

I’m back with some more entertaining stats on the players that lost most frequently to the eventual champion of a tournament this season. We focused on the men last time; this time we’re delving into the WTA. There are some interesting storylines here — strap in!

Joint-Third: Six Losses

In 2022, 141 WTA players lost to a tournament’s eventual champ.

Of those 141, three players lost to a tournament’s eventual champ six times, the third-most of anyone on tour.

The first isn’t much of a surprise. Belinda Bencic was low-key scary at times this year so her inclusion here is understandable.

  1. Badosa in Sydney (QF)
  2. Kontaveit in St. Petersburg (QF)
  3. Jabeur in Madrid (3R)
  4. Jabeur in Berlin (F)
  5. Martic in Lausanne (QF)
  6. Krejčíková in Tallinn (SF)

A Wimbledon champion isn’t much of a surprise either – still Elena Rybakina had five tough heartbreakers to stomach after winning the biggest title of her career, three of them coming in first or second rounds.

  1. Barty in Adelaide (F)
  2. Kasatkina in San Jose (1R)
  3. Siniakova in Portoroz (F)
  4. Samsonova in Tokyo (1R)
  5. Krejčíková in Ostrava (SF)
  6. Pegula in Guadalajara (2R)

Someone that did surprise me however? In a testament to her future and her current quality, Qinwen Zheng makes the list, twice falling to the eventual tournament champion in Grand Slams!

  1. Halep in Melbourne (SF)
  2. Fernandez in Monterrey (QF)
  3. Świątek at Roland-Garros (4R)
  4. Rybakina at Wimbledon (3R)
  5. Samsonova in Tokyo (F)
  6. Świątek in San Diego (2R)

Joint-Second: Seven Losses

Three players went one further with seven losses to TEC’s throughout the year.

Aryna Sabalenka was repeatedly foiled by this year’s cream of the crop. Though Sabalenka’s season was rocky, this list shows she was often in the running or thereabout. (Note those four losses to Swiatek!)

  1. Świątek in Doha (QF)
  2. Świątek in Stuttgart (F)
  3. Świątek in Rome (SF)
  4. Alexandrova in s’Hertogenbosch (F)
  5. Kasatkina in San Jose (QF)
  6. Garcia in Cincinnati (SF)
  7. Świątek at the US Open (SF)

   7.5 Garcia at the World Tour Finals (F) *Round-robin events not included*

Coco Gauff had a similar experience to Sabalenka, losing to Świątek three times when the Pole won the tournament. A couple of these losses actually came relatively early in tournament draws, perhaps shedding a new light on the American’s season.

  1. Barty in Adelaide (2R)
  2. Keys in Adelaide 2 (2R)
  3. Świątek in Miami (4R)
  4. Świątek at Roland-Garros (F)
  5. Jabeur in Berlin (SF)
  6. Halep in Toronto (QF)
  7. Świątek in San Diego (QF)

To nobody’s surprise, Maria Sakkari rounds out the list. Being a four-time runner-up this year was always going to put her ahead of most. A small silver-lining for Sakkari fans? A sneaky loss to Garcia in the second-round of Cincinnati makes her poor North American swing a little easier to swallow.

  1. Kontaveit in St. Petersburg (F)
  2. Swiatek in Doha (SF)
  3. Swiatek in Indian Wells (F)
  4. Haddad Maia in Nottingham (QF)
  5. Garcia in Cincinnati (2R)
  6. Sherif in Parma (F)
  7. Pegula in Guadalajara (F)

  (7.5 Garcia at the World Tour Finals (SF))

Stand-Alone First: Eight Losses

If you’ve been following the tour closely, you might have a good idea of who comes at top of our list.

Jessica Pegula racked up eight losses this year to a TEC! Not overly surprising. The nature of some of the losses however…

  1. Barty at the Australian Open (QF)
  2. Świątek in Miami (SF)
  3. Jabeur in Madrid (F)
  4. Świątek at Roland-Garros (QF)
  5. Halep in Toronto (SF)
  6. Garcia in Cincinnati (QF)
  7. Świątek at the US Open (QF)
  8. Świątek in San Diego (SF)
Pegula with the runner-up plate in Madrid. Screenshot: WTA

Pegula lost to the eventual champ at the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. Each of these losses came in the quarterfinals. There’s a 1 in 7 chance Pegula is drawn against the tournament favourite at this stage of each of these Slams (FYI, she would have played Rybakina in the fourth-round of Wimbledon if she’d won her third-round match). 

The chances of drawing the tournament favourite in the quarters three times in three Slams? 

1 in 343.

To boot, Pegula then had to deal with brutal losses in four WTA 1000s. There were four Slams and eight WTA 1000s this season. Pegula won Guadalajara, so for the other 11 events? Pegula was beaten by the eventual champion in 7 out of 11 of them. Just look at the list: all late rounds, all big events, all very tough opponents.

As big an OOF as there is.

Hope you enjoyed the rundown. Let me know how aggrieved you are on Twitter (@ontheline_jack)!


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