By - Sara Mills

What Happens During A Tennis Tie-Break?

A tiebreaker is played when a tennis set is tied 6-6. A 7-point tiebreak will now decide the group between the players. As a result, the tiebreaker is determined by the first player to accumulate 7 points.

If the tiebreaker score is 6-6, a player needs to win by two points to win the tiebreak. In this case, the ultimate tiebreaker scores might be 8-6, 9-7, 10-8, etc.

The score in a tiebreak can go as high as it wants. Some tiebreakers result in scores of 15-13 or higher. Until one of the players prevails by 2, the tiebreaker is continued.

The tiebreaker procedures for singles and doubles matches are identical. Tiebreakers in singles and doubles only differ in the service, which I’ll detail in this piece.

In a tiebreak, who gets to go first?

The player who received in the twelfth game, or the game that tied the score at six points each, will start serving in the tiebreaker.

On the other hand, the player who made the score 6-6 by serving first will win the tiebreaker.

How Does The Serve Operate In A Tie-Breaker For Singles?

It might be challenging to describe the service in a tiebreaker. But once you get the hang of it, it’s relatively easy. I think it would be better if I put it like this:

  1. The tiebreaker is initiated by Player A, who receives one serve on the deuce side.
  2. The player on the offensive side (Player B) will serve next.
  3. Player B will continue to serve next on the deuce side.
  4. Player A will serve next from the offensive side.
  5. Player A will serve next on the deuce side.
  6. Player B will serve next from the offensive side. — The players will switch ends after scoring six points. The tiebreaker will continue after Players A and B have crossed the net to the other end of the court.
  7. Player B will serve again on the deuce side.
  8. Player A will serve next from the offensive side.

The same pattern will hold if additional points are required. Only the first point is served by the player who begins the tiebreaker. After that, each player receives two turns serving before continuing to alternate.

When Should An End In A Tie-Break Be Changed?

To begin the tiebreaker, neither side is altered. You will remain on the same side for the first six points of the tiebreaker.

The players will switch ends once 6 points are scored (it can be any combination of scores).

The players will switch ends once again if the tiebreaker continues after another 6 points. Up until the tiebreaker is over, this is repeated every six points.

The players will switch ends based on where they concluded the tiebreak if another set is to be played after the tiebreak.

As an illustration, if Player A completes the tiebreak on one side of the court, he will begin the following settings on the opposing side (opposite side of the net).

The result of a tiebreaker

When a tennis match ends in a tiebreak, the result is recorded as a 7-6 set score. The set score is recorded as 7-6 regardless of the exact tiebreak result (which may have been 7-0).

If you played a tiebreak in a league or tournament match, all you need to tell the scorekeeper is a score of 7-6. The winner of the tiebreak decides the set.

In a doubles tiebreaker, how does the serve function?

Four players are on the court, so serving in a doubles tiebreaker is a little more challenging to explain. As you may know, a doubles match consists of two players on each side of the court.

In the tiebreaker, the side that made the set score 6-6 by serving first will win. Before the other side does, the team that initiates the tiebreaker only gets one help.

After that, exactly like in singles, each team will serve twice, alternating every two serves.

The player who did not serve for his team in the previous game begins serving first in the tiebreaker. I’ll write out the format for the complete set so you can readily see it because I think this might not be easy to understand.

Let’s refer to the first team members as Players A1 and A2. B1 and B2 players will be on the opposite team. The serve pattern for the set will look like this.

If you played a tiebreak in a league or tournament match, all you need to tell the scorekeeper is a score of 7-6. The winner of the tiebreak decides the set.

  • Player A1 serves in the deuce side of Game 1
  • Player B1 serves on the offensive side in game 2
  • Player A2 serves in the deuce side of Game 3
  • Player B2 serves on the offensive side in game 4
  • Player A1 serves in the deuce side of Game 5
  • Player B1 serves on the offensive side in game 6
  • Player A2 serves in the deuce side of Game 7
  • Player B2 serves on the offensive side in game 8
  • Player A1 serves on the deuce side in game 9.
  • Player B1 serves on the offensive side in game 10
  • Player A2 serves on the deuce side in game 11
  • Player B2 serves on the offensive side in game 12

Assume that after 12 games, the final score is 6-6. A tiebreak process will start.

Team A will serve to begin the tiebreaker, while Team B will do the 12th game. Player A1 will serve specifically because doubles players never serve two games in a row, and A2 served the last game (game 11).

Each player will serve once the tiebreaker has started. Again, explaining this system is difficult, so I’ll do it this way:

  • Point 1: Serve by Player A1
  • Point 2: Serve by player B1
  • Point 3: Serve by Player B1
  • Point 4: Serve by Player A2
  • Point 5: Serve by Player A2
  • Point 6: Serve by player B2
  • After 6 points have been played, players will switch ends.
  • Point 7: Serve by player B2
  • Point 8: Serve by Player A1.
  • Point 9: Serve by Player A1.

Until the tiebreak is over, the pattern keeps happening. Like singles, tiebreaks must be won by a margin of 2 points, and players alternate ends every 6 points until the tiebreak is over.

After a tiebreaker, how do you decide who starts serving the set?

In singles, the player who began the tie-serving breaks will receive in the opening game of the following set.

Conversely, the person who was the first to receive during the tiebreak would serve the first game of the following set.

For doubles, the same guidelines apply. The first game of the following settings will be given to the team that began serving the tiebreaker.

Any serving team member may choose to serve at the start of the set. The next game, when the other team does, is the same. Both of those players have the option to choose to begin serving first.

In the next two games, the players who still need to serve will do so (the 3rd and 4th games). This serve pattern is in effect until the set is finished or a tiebreak is reached.

Why Do Tie-Break Games Sometimes Go 10 Points?

In tournament or league play, singles ties are always resolved using a 7-point system. However, a 10-point tiebreaker is frequently used in doubles when the set score is tied at one each. This is because doubles matches save time and are typically less critical than singles matches.

But this is only sometimes the case. Teams will play through the last set in larger tournaments like the ATP Finals, majors, and Davis Cup tennis.

The 10-point tiebreaker follows the same rules:

  • Players’ switch ends every six points.
  • The winning side must prevail by two points.
  • The same serve pattern (which I previously described) is used during the whole tiebreak.

Advice For Breaking The Tie In Singles

I like to lead in the tiebreak when I play singles quickly. This provides me with a safety net and relieves some pressure. If I can swiftly get ahead by one or two points, my chances of winning the tiebreak rise.

Because of this, you must play well during the tie-first break’s three points. When you have a mini-break (winning the point on your opponent’s serve), holding service in the tiebreak is all you need to accomplish to prevail.

Never give up if you’re behind in the tiebreak. You put a lot of effort into getting into the tiebreaker, so battle hard on every point even though it’s only down to 7.

The only difference between the tiebreaker and a game is that you’ll alternate every two serves. Maintain consistency and keep your strategy in mind.

Being consistent in a tiebreaker frequently suffices to win it because your opponent is probably feeling just as anxious as you are. Your opponent may become tense and commit unintentional mistakes due to those nerves.

Take your time, hydrate, and moderate your pace if you’re trailing after the 6-point switch. Make your opponent wait while maintaining confident body language.

If you lose the tiebreak and the game, think about how you can improve for the following tiebreaker. If another set needs to be played, forget about the tiebreak and concentrate on the next scene. Take it one step at a time.

Advice For Breaking The Tie In Doubles

Teamwork is essential in doubles. Throughout the tiebreak, you must maintain a positive attitude with your teammate. At this point, there is no space for error. Support your partner at every turn.

You should focus your attention on the weaker player on the other squad. If you’re unsure, hit that player. Work on your plan continuously.

If you’re down in the tiebreaker, play a little more cautiously and take fewer risks, like poaching. You can take a little more chance if you win the tiebreaker.

Serving well is more crucial in doubles than in singles. Take a touch off the initial serve if you’re doing it rather than going for the massive bomb.

Start serving huge only if you are ahead by more than three points. Your chances of winning the point significantly enhance if you get the initial serve into the box.


Tennis’ complex scoring system is easier to memorize than you would think if you’re new to the sport. It becomes simpler the more you play.

The tennis score system was something I had mastered after about a dozen games. You can count on a more seasoned player to lead the way if you play with them.

This post clarifies everything you wanted to know about the tennis tiebreak. If not, kindly post your query in the comments area below. I appreciate you visiting my blog.