Winning Streak (sports)

Winning Streak (sports)

In sports, a winning streak refers to a consecutive number of games won. A winning streak can be held by a team, as in baseball, football, basketball, hockey, or by an individual, as in tennis. A winning streak that extends through a single season is known as a perfect season.

The longest recorded winning streak in any professional sports is Pakistani Jahangir Khan's 555 consecutive wins in squash from 1981 to 1986. In the same sports, the Australian Heather McKay may hold a claim to an even longer winning streak, as she went unbeaten for 19 years, from 1962 to 1981. However, an official tally of her wins may not exist. In 2013, the Dutch wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer retired with an active 10-year-long winning streak of 470 matches, including a streak of 250 consecutive sets won.

A winning streak is not to be confused with an unbeaten streak, where teams can tie as well as win and keep their streak. For example, if a football team wins four games in a row, plays a draw, wins three more, plays two draws in a row, and then loses, they had a 10-game unbeaten streak. Their longest winning streak in this sequence was four. If a sports league declares overtime losses different from regulation losses in that they are scored like ties (such as ice hockey leagues where there is both a 4-on-4 overtime and a penalty shootout to break ties), an unbeaten streak (unlike a winning streak) continues if at the end of regulation, the game is tied. This is because losses in overtime and shootout are declared regulation ties, and teams accumulate one point for the draw. As such, if a team wins four consecutive games, then loses two consecutive games in overtime, then loses in a shootout, and then wins three consecutive games, that team has a ten-game unbeaten streak (seven wins and three ties at the end of regulation).

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