A lucky loser is a table tennis player who loses in an event but still advances due to an opening in the draw. For example, if there are 152 players entered in one pro tour event, there might be 32 players seeded into the single elimination and 120 players competing in round robin groups. There would be 30 groups of four players per group with the winners advancing to meet the 32 seeded players.
To form a perfect single elimination draw, there should be 64 players. After the groups finished, there would be 62 players remaining in the tournament – 32 seeded players and 30 qualifiers. To meet the perfect 64 number, the table tennis tournament referee would put the names of the 30 second-place finishers in a hat and draw two names. They call these two players “lucky losers.” They lost in the groups but were still able to advance and keep playing.
So, the next time that you are playing in a world pro table tennis tour and hear the phrase “lucky loser” you will understand what it means.