A tiebreak is a specific scoring method used in tennis to decide a set that has become tied at 6-6. The purpose of the tiebreak is to determine the winner of the set without the need for players to gain a two-game lead, which is the usual requirement for winning a set.
Here’s how it works:
The player who is next to serve begins the tiebreak.
From the second point, each player serves two points in a row, starting from the deuce (right) court.
Players switch sides after every six points. This helps to ensure that no player has an advantage due to the sun, wind, or other environmental factors.
Tennis tiebreaker regulations require a player to score seven points and hold a two-point lead. 7-5 or 8-6 could result. If the tiebreak is 6-6, the game must continue until one player has a two-point lead, resulting in scores like 8-6 or 9-7.
The tiebreak winner wins the set with a score of 7-6, regardless of the numbers.
Wimbledon and the Australian Open use a different procedure to decide the last set (the third in women’s matches, the fifth in men’s) if the score is 6-6. A “super tiebreak” or “match tiebreak” begins at 12-12. The first player to reach 10 points and lead by at least two points wins the tiebreak.
The tiebreak’s specifics depend on each tournament’s rules and the sport’s governing body.
See also: How Are Tennis Rankings Calculated?
How the Super Tiebreak Works
A super tiebreak, or match tiebreak, or sometimes called the champions tiebreak, is a type of tiebreak that is often used in place of a final set when the players have each won the same number of preceding sets.
This format is often used in doubles matches or in singles matches where there are time constraints.
Here is how the super tiebreak typically works:
The super tiebreak begins similarly to a regular tiebreak, with the player who is next in the order of serve serving the first point. The serve is made from the deuce (right) court.
From the second point onward, each player serves two points in a row, beginning from the ad (left) court and then moving to the deuce court.
Players switch ends of the court after every six points. This is to ensure that neither player gains an advantage due to factors like the sun, wind, or other conditions.
The player or team that first scores at least 10 points and is at least two points ahead of their opponent wins the super tiebreak. So, scores could be 10-8, 11-9, 12-10, and so on, until this two-point advantage is achieved.
The player or team who triumphs in the super tiebreak is declared the match winner. If such a scenario unfolds in a tournament where each game and set is tallied, the ultimate match score would be registered as two sets to one, with the final set score denoted as 1-0.
Do bear in mind that the specific regulations governing a super tiebreak can fluctuate based on the particular tournament and the directives set forth by the sport’s overseeing bodies. Despite these potential variations, the format described above is typically the most commonly adopted.