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What happens during a tiebreaker? Tennis
10 months ago | gizem

What happens during a tiebreaker?

During a tiebreaker in tennis, a specific game format is used to determine the winner of a set when the score is tied at 6-6. The tiebreaker is a condensed game that allows for a clear winner within a short timeframe. It's designed to avoid prolonged sets and provide a decisive outcome.

Here's how a tiebreaker works:

  • Timing: A tiebreaker is played immediately after the score reaches 6-6 in a set. It is not played in the final set of a match in most tournaments, except for some exceptions like the US Open, where a tiebreaker is also used in the fifth set.
  • Serving Order: The player who served the last game of the set will serve the first point of the tiebreaker. The service then alternates between the two players/team every two points. For instance, Player A serves the first point, Player B serves the next two points, Player A serves the following two points, and so on.
  • Scoring: The tiebreaker game is played to seven points, but the first player/team to reach seven points with a margin of two points wins the tiebreaker and the set. For example, the tiebreaker can end with a score of 7-5, 8-6, 9-7, etc. However, if the score reaches 6-6, the tiebreaker continues until one player/team wins by two points.
  • Mini-sets: In some tournaments, like the Australian Open, tiebreakers are played using mini-sets, where the first player/team to reach 10 points with a margin of two points wins the tiebreaker and the set. This format is also used in the final set of mixed doubles matches at Wimbledon.
  • Change of Ends: After the first six points of the tiebreaker (or after every six points in the case of mini-sets), players/team switch ends of the court to account for any potential court or wind advantage.
  • Importance: The tiebreaker is a pivotal moment in the set, as it can significantly influence the outcome of the match. The player/team who wins the tiebreaker gains momentum and, in the case of the final set, can secure the match victory.