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Use Thirty30 as a 3rd set match decider?

Updated: Nov 26, 2019

Use of a Match Tie-Break (MTB)

It is recognised that tennis matches can last too long and to shorten the duration of matches for players and audiences, both the WTA & ATP Tours, for doubles (best-of-3 set) matches that reach 1 set all, have chosen to utilise the MTB (to 10 points) as a replacement for the 3rd set.

In the recent Laver Cup, the MTB was also utilised to stop matches going on and on.

The new Tennis Scotland (TS) Open (singles) Tour is also using the MTB (also referred to as a champions tie-break) as a 3rd set match decider in the 'TS 500' (Grade 4) events. Note that the ‘TS 300’ (Grade 5) events are utilising the FAST4 format.

The utilisation of the MTB is becoming more and more widespread.

However, the MTB is over very quickly and can be a bit of a lottery, with the outcome hinging on only a handful of points.

Thirty30 conducted an analysis of the 2017 Laver Cup matches (6 out of 12) that went to a 3rd set MTB. (See Thirty30 blog: 2017 Laver Cup - Analysis of the Match Tie-Breaks, October 20, 2017)

Of the 6 matches that went to a 3rd set MTB, Thirty30 evaluated that on average, it took a total of 1 hour 40 minutes (156 points) to play the 3 set match, and this included only 12 minutes (17.5 points) duration to play the MTB, i.e. the MTB took only 12% of the total match duration - a very small proportion.

For players to slog it out for a total of 1 hour 40 minutes and the outcome of the match being based on only a 12 minutes MTB "shoot-out" does not seem fair to both players and audiences.

It is worth noting that during the Laver Cup match between Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios (Match #12), a second set Tie-Break (to 7 points) was immediately followed by a 3rd set match decider MTB (to 10 points). Two Tie-Breaks (one to 7 points and one to 10 points) played in a row is a bit strange.

Use Thirty30 as a 3rd Set Match Decider?

Thirty30 Tennis provides an alternative to a MTB.

A Thirty30 set can be used as a 3rd set match decider - See 'Rules of Thirty30 Tennis'. The Thirty30 applicable rules are:

02 - all games start at "30-30" ("thirty30").

04 - win the set by leading by 2 clear games.

05 - change ends after 2, 6, 10,..... games.

In general, the set takes no longer than 20 minutes to complete, produces tennis that feels, looks and sounds like traditional tennis, and provides a fairer and more appropriate climax to a match.

The set 'builds' similarly to traditional tennis, with service game holds and breaks, deuce games, advantage points, and the 'set' is won by leading by 2 clear games.

There are more opportunities to 'break back' if a player goes down a 'break' than with a MTB.

The transition from traditional scoring (during the first 2 sets) to Thirty30 is very simple and seamless, and provides no issues to the players, audience or officials.

For example:

A best-of-3 set match score using a MTB: 6-4, 6-7, 1-0 (10-7).


A best-of-3 set match score using Thirty30: 6-4, 6-7, 8-6 (T30).

i.e. The Thirty30 score has more in common with traditional tennis.

Try Thirty30 (T30) Tennis as a 3rd set match decider now, and please let us know your thoughts. Thanks.

Mark Milne Creator of Thirty30 Tennis October 2017

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