Tie-Breaker Scoring – Rules – 2021 Guide

'The Tennis Score Solution - Break The Tie - Finish The Set'

Picture this. The tennis score in the second set is 6-6 in the finals at the French Open. Your eyes have been glued to the television as you watch two of the world’s best tennis player’s battle competitively for each and every single point.

Just when you think one of these top-notch tennis athletes is going to take over the set and dominate, the other tennis player reverses course evening the tennis score. The phone rings, you answer the call and tend to an urgent matter taking you away from this intense match.

Upon your return the tennis score resulted in 7-6 for the second set and the finalists have just started playing the first game in the third set. If you are new to the sport of tennis or just a casual spectator, you might be confused because it was your understanding that a tennis competitor must win by two or more games to win and close out a set.

So how and why is the outcome of the tennis score 7-6 in the second set?

Well your thinking is on track to a point. The standard rule in tennis is to win by two or more games to close out a set. The confusion is that many spectators not familiar with all the rules of the game probably think that this rule is etched in stone.

This is true, but what if both of the tennis competitors fail to take over, dominate, and control the outcome of the tennis score within the set? The length of the set and possibly the match would drag out as it continuously rotates back and forth for countless games until one of these athletes outwits, outplays, and outlasts the other.

That slogan probably sounds familiar to reality television fans of the show Survivor, but a similar slogan would have to apply in tennis where surviving the longevity of such a match can be brutal. That is the way tennis was played prior to the evolution of television advertisements.

Thank goodness for tie-breaker scoring.

Spectators appreciate it and for the most part tennis athletes prefer it. The results of the tennis score for such a close set is no longer dragged out for countless games to finish a set and ultimately a match.

Think about this for a second.

Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments have been known to last over four hours, sometimes over five hours at times and that is with tie-breaker scoring integrated into the rules of the match.

What would happen in many of these matches if tie-breaker scoring was not a factor in finalizing the tennis score in a set?

Chances are an hour or two, possibly even three hours could be added to the duration of such a competitive match. Consequently, this would trigger the complexity of marketing television advertisements as well as locking down television programming schedules.

Tiebreaker scoring, commonly termed the ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ is the time management answer to accelerating the tennis score and finalizing a set when the tennis game score is tied at 6-6. At this point a final game is played utilizing an alternative point scoring method … the ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’ point scoring system.

A ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ simply means the first competitor to earn seven points with a two point advantage wins the game and more importantly the set.

For instance, the final game score could be 7-0, 7-1, 7-2, 7-3, 7-4, or 7-5. Notice 7-6 was not mentioned. Keep in mind that in order to win a game, a competitor must have a two point advantage – therefore, 7-6 will not win a ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ game.

The game must continue until one of the tennis competitors closes out the set with a final tennis score of 8-6, 9-7, 10-8, 11-9, 12-10, etc. for the ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ game.

The ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ game is the final game after twelve games have been played and the game score is tied (6-6) for the set. In tennis, this is the only time a tennis competitor closes out a set by winning with a one game advantage resulting in tennis game score of 7-6 or 6-7.

That covers scoring a ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ game.To initiate game play in a ‘7 Point Tiebreak’, how do you determine who serves first?

Simply continue the rotation of serves.

In other words, the tennis competitor next in line to serve initiates game play by serving the 1st point from the right service court (deuce court).

The rotation of serves rotates after the 1st point is played out.

The 2nd and 3rd points are served by the opponent of the competitor who served the 1st point.

This competitor serves the 2nd point from the left service court (advantage court or ‘ad’ court) and then serves the 3rd point from the right service court.

With the exception of the 1st point played, each competitor throughout the entire ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ game serves two consecutive points always serving the first point from the left service court then serving the second point from the right service court.

After every six points played, the tennis competitors switch ends on the court and game play continues until a winner of the ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ game is determined.

When the ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ game is finalized and the match is not over the tennis competitors switch ends on the court again since the outcome of the match is 7-6. 7 + 6 = 13 and the traditional tennis scoring rules state that tennis competitors always switch ends on the courts when the sum of the games adds up to an odd number.

On another note, the traditional tennis scoring rules specifically states that the tennis competitor who served the 1st point in the ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ game now receives serves at the beginning of game play in the next set.

Tie-Breaker Scoring Tips

  • 6-6 in a set results in a ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ game played
  • 7 points earned combined with a 2 point advantage wins the game
  • the 1st point is served from the right service court (deuce court)
  • rotate serves after the 1st point is played
  • with the exception of the 1st point served, each competitor serves two consecutive points always serving the first point from the left service court (advantage court or ‘ad’ court) then serving the second point from the right service court (deuce court)
  • every 6 points, the tennis competitors switch ends on the court

Tie-Breaker scoring compliments the sport of tennis and is widely embraced by tennis athletes, spectators and network television management.

The next time you are watching a Grand Slam Tennis Tournament and the game score is tied at 6-6 , stay tuned in for an electrifying battle for points in a ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ game to determine the outcome of the final tennis score for that set and possibly the match.

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