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Australian Open introduces final set tiebreaks from 2019

Kachi Wachuku in News 21 Dec 2018
  • Australian Open becomes latest Grand Slam to adopt tiebreaks to decide final set
  • First player to reach 10 points with two-point advantage wins the set and match
Novak Djokovic poses with the trophy and clock after marathon win against Rafael Nadal in the 2012 final. (credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

There have been a few notable changes in Grand Slam tennis, from shot clocks and now the eradication of lengthy final sets. The Happy Slam becomes the second major in three months to introduce final set tiebreaks.

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The Australian Open have announced the introduction of final set tiebreaks from 2019, from next year tiebreaks will be played at 6-6 in the final set - the first player to reach 10 points (with a 2 point lead) will win the set.

“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,” tournament director Craig Tiley said.

The Happy Slam released a statement early today that the decision comes following the most extensive consultation in the tournament’s history.

“We went with a 10-point tiebreak at six-games-all in the final set to ensure the fans still get a special finale to these often epic contests, with the longer tiebreak still then allowing for that one final twist or change of momentum in the contest," the 56-year old explained.  
"This longer tiebreak also can lessen some of the serving dominance that can prevail in the shorter tiebreak. We believe this is the best possible outcome for both the players and the fans around the world,” Tiley continued.

This change comes shortly after Wimbledon's decision to implement tiebreaks at 12-12 in the final set two months ago. The infamous Anderson-Isner semifinal match which ended 26-24 in the fifth set and lasted 6 hours 36 minutes is one of the main catalysts of these revisions. Prior to this year, the US Open was the only major that played tiebreaks at 6-6 in the final set, all other Slams played final sets to advantage - with the winning player having to break serve at least once to take the set and ultimately the match.

Though final set tiebreaks will be played to ten points, all other sets(four sets on the men's side and two sets on the women's side) will be played to the usual seven points. Roland Garros is now officially the only Grand Slam yet to affect tiebreaks in the final set, all deciding sets in the men and women's singles matches are still played to advantage. 

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Australian Open introduces final set tiebreaks from 2019

More Grand Slams are finally taking the hint as the Australian Open becomes the latest major tournament to adopt tiebreaks in the final set.

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