What Is the 10 Point Tiebreaker?

In the realm of competitive sports and particularly in tennis, the occurrence of a tiebreaker often adds an element of excitement and anticipation. Among the various formats of tiebreakers, the 10-point tiebreaker has gained popularity for it’s simplicity and ability to swiftly determine a winner. Similar to the traditional seven-point tiebreaker, the 10-point tiebreaker follows a familiar pattern where one player begins by serving for a single point. Subsequently, the serving alternates between two players, with each taking turns to deliver successive serves. The crucial distinction lies in the objective of reaching 10 points, with the condition that the leading player must be ahead by at least two points to claim victory. This concise yet highly engaging format adds a unique layer of intensity and suspense to tennis matches, offering players and spectators alike an exhilarating experience on the court.

What Is the 10-Point Tiebreaker in the US Open?

The 10-point tiebreaker, also referred to as a super tiebreaker, has become a significant feature in the US Open tennis tournament. It comes into play in all final sets that reach a 6-6 score, effectively replacing the traditional rules for tiebreakers. This format ensures that matches don’t extend indefinitely and provides a thrilling conclusion to closely contested matches.

In a 10-point tiebreaker, players strive to be the first to reach ten points, but there’s a catch. To secure victory, you must win by a margin of two points. For instance, if the score is 9-9, the next player to win consecutive points will emerge as the winner. Consequently, this added challenge introduces an element of excitement and suspense as matches can swing back and forth until a clear victor emerges.

The History and Evolution of Tiebreakers in Tennis

The history and evolution of tiebreakers in tennis date back to the mid-1960s when matches with long, drawn-out sets became a concern. The need for a quicker way to determine a winner led to the development of various tiebreaker systems. The most common tiebreaker format in tennis is the 7-point tiebreaker, where the first player to reach seven points with a margin of two points wins the set.

However, in 2019, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) introduced a new tiebreaker format known as the 10-point tiebreaker. This tiebreaker is used in the deciding set of most professional tennis tournaments, including Grand Slam events. The 10-point tiebreaker is played similarly to the 7-point tiebreaker, but the first player to reach ten points with a margin of two points is declared the winner of the set and ultimately the match.

The 10-point tiebreaker was introduced to add more excitement and provide a fairer alternative to the previous format, which often resulted in marathon matches and potential player fatigue. It aims to strike a balance between fairness, competitiveness, and maintaining the integrity of the game. The adoption of the 10-point tiebreaker has been generally well-received, allowing for a more streamlined conclusion to matches while still providing thrilling moments and intense competition in deciding sets.


This tiebreaker closely resembles the traditional seven-point tiebreaker, with the sole difference being the increased point target of 10. The first individual to reach 10 points, while maintaining a lead of at least two points, is declared the winner of the set. This tiebreaker format adds excitement and intensity to matches, ensuring a conclusive and definitive outcome.

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