Tiebreaks to decide final sets at Australian Open

Published by AAP

Rod Laver Arena; Getty Images
The Australian Open announces it will debut first-to-10-point tiebreaks in 2019, replacing advantage sets in the fifth set of men’s matches and third set of women’s matches.

Deciding-set tiebreaks will be introduced for the first time at the Australian Open next month.

In a move that follows Wimbledon and the US Open, Australian Open organisers have opted for a first-to-10 points tiebreak with a two-point advantage at 6-6 in the final set in the men’s and women’s draw.

The decision to no longer play advantage in final sets comes following the most extensive consultation in the tournament’s history, according to tournament director Craig Tiley.

“We asked the players, both past and present, commentators, agents and TV analysts whether they wanted to play an advantage final set or not, and went from there,” he said.

QUIZ: were you paying attention in 2018?

Wimbledon announced in October that it will next year have a standard first-to-seven points tiebreak when the deciding set reaches 12-12.

The US Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to introduce final-set tiebreaks, with a first-to-seven-points game played at 6-6.

The French Open is now the only major event still decided by an advantage set.

Tiley said Australian Open organisers believe an extended tiebreak still had the potential to provide a special finale to an epic contest.

“This longer tiebreak also can lessen some of the serving dominance that can prevail in the shorter tiebreak,” he said.

“We believe this is the best possible outcome for both the players and the fans around the world.”

A traditional seven-point tiebreak at 6-6 for non-deciding sets will remain in the men’s and women’s draws.

Men’s and women’s doubles and singles qualifying, plus junior and wheelchair singles events, will follow the same format as the women’s singles – a 10-point tiebreak to decide a third set.

Mixed doubles, junior doubles and wheelchair doubles will use the 10-point match tiebreak as the third set if scores are locked at one set all.

Australian Open 2019 begins on 14 January.

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