Doubles Tie Break Explained: What Happens in the 3rd Set for Women

In the thrilling world of professional doubles tennis, where strategic partnerships are forged and powerful duos clash on the court, the rules for the third set can sometimes be a matter of great intrigue. Often, tournaments opt for a modified format known as a "10 point tiebreaker" should the first two sets end in a split decision, with each team claiming one set apiece. This fascinating tiebreaker mirrors the standard 7 point tiebreaker in terms of gameplay, but extends the battle to 10 pivotal points. Like a symphony poised for harmony, one team serves the opening point, and thereafter, the teams alternate serving every two points until this captivating tiebreaker reaches it’s enthralling conclusion.

How Does Third Set Work in Doubles?

How does third set work in doubles? Well, in some doubles matches, teams only play two full sets. If each team wins one set and the match is tied 1-1, they play a tiebreak game instead of a third set. This tiebreak game is played to 10 points instead of the usual 7 points. This format ensures that doubles matches don’t run on for too long and allows for a more concise and exciting conclusion to the match.

Playing a third-set tiebreak also helps in maintaining the schedule of the tournament. This is particularly important in tournaments with multiple matches happening simultaneously on different courts.

They aim to provide a thrilling and competitive match while still adhering to the time constraints of the event. This format also adds an extra strategic element to the game, as teams must adapt their gameplay and strategies in the tiebreak game to secure victory.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Third-Set Tiebreak Format Compared to Playing a Full Third Set

  • Advantages of the third-set tiebreak format:
    • Reduces the overall match duration, making it more time-efficient.
    • Eliminates the potential for very long matches that can exhaust players.
    • Provides a more decisive outcome, as the tiebreak determines the winner.
    • Allows for a more predictable schedule for tournament organizers.
  • Disadvantages of the third-set tiebreak format:
    • May deprive players and spectators of the excitement and drama of a full third set.
    • Eliminates opportunities for comebacks or momentum shifts that can occur in a full set.
    • Can feel rushed and less satisfying for players and fans who prefer longer matches.
    • May disadvantage players who excel in longer matches and strategic play.

In the realm of tennis, where every point counts, tie-breakers play a crucial role in determining the outcome of a set. When it comes to women’s doubles, the rules for tie-breakers remain consistent with the flow of the game. While serving would continue in the same order established throughout the set, both teams are given an equal opportunity to showcase their skills by serving for two points each, ensuring that the tie-breaker remains fair and competitive. Ultimately, it’s the team that reaches a score of 7 points with a margin of 2 that emerges victorious from this nail-biting showdown.

What Is the Tie-Breaker for Women’s Doubles?

In womens doubles tennis, the tie-breaker format remains the same as it does for singles matches. When the third set reaches a 6-6 tie, a tie-breaker is played to determine the winner of the set. However, there’s a slight difference in the serving order during the tie-breaker.

Typically, in doubles matches, the serving order alternates between the two teams. This means that if a team serves first in the set, their opponents will serve first in the next set.

Once the tie-breaker starts, the opponent serves the first two serves. After that, each player, or team, takes turns serving for two points. This rotation continues until the tie-breaker ends. The tie-breaker concludes when one player or team reaches seven points with a margin of two. For example, if the score is 6-6 in the tie-breaker, the winner must reach either 8-6, 9-7, and so on.

The tie-breaker format ensures that the match can progress in a timely manner, particularly during long and grueling matches. It adds a level of excitement and tension as players strive to reach the necessary points to secure victory. Additionally, the alternating serving order throughout the set allows both teams to have an equal opportunity to control the game.

How Do Tie-Breakers in Women’s Doubles Affect Overall Match Strategy?

Tie-breakers in women’s doubles have a significant impact on overall match strategy. In the event that the first two sets are split between the teams, a tie-breaker is played to determine the winner of the match.

Unlike regular sets, tie-breakers have a different scoring system. In women’s doubles, the tie-breaker is played up to 10 points, with a two-point margin required to win.

With this in mind, teams need to adjust their strategy to adapt to the shorter format and higher stakes of a tie-breaker. They must focus on capitalizing on key points and minimizing unforced errors.

Communication and teamwork become even more crucial in tie-breakers, as players need to effectively coordinate their movements and shots to outsmart their opponents.

Additionally, the serving order and rotation play a significant role in a tie-breaker. Teams need to decide who serves first and how to strategically rotate during the tie-breaker to maximize their chances of success.

Overall, tie-breakers in women’s doubles require teams to maintain a heightened level of focus, precision, and adaptability. The outcome of the tie-breaker can ultimately dictate the overall match result, making it a crucial moment in the game.

Source: Tennis Tie-breaks Made Easy – Doubletake


In conclusion, the rules for the third set in women's doubles tennis can vary across tournaments. However, in most cases, if the first two sets are split 1-1, the third set is shortened to a 10 point tiebreaker. It’s an intense and crucial moment where every point counts, as it determines the final outcome of the match.

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