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Australian Open to have 10-point tiebreakers in deciding set

December 21, 2018
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FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2018, file photo, Croatia's Marin Cilic wipes sweat from his face as he plays Switzerland's Roger Federer during the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships, in Melbourne, Australia. The Australian Open in January will play a 10-point tiebreaker in deciding sets, joining Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in using tiebreakers to avoid long matches. Temperatures often soar to 37 degrees Celsius (100 F) and beyond during the tournament. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill, File)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Australian Open in January will play a 10-point tiebreaker in deciding sets, joining Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in using tiebreakers to avoid long matches.

The tournament said on Friday the decision, reported widely a month ago but denied by Australian Open officials, came after consultation with current and former players and tennis officials. Temperatures often soar to 37 degrees (around 100 F) and beyond during the tournament.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley says “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.

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

In the men’s singles draw, the first four sets will feature a seven-point tiebreaker at 6-6, with the final set going to a 10-point tiebreaker at 6-6.

In women’s singles play and men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles, the deciding set of three sets will be played with a 10-point tiebreaker at 6-6.

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

The U.S. Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to introduce final-set tiebreakers, with a first-to-seven-points game at 6-6.

The French Open is the only remaining Grand Sam still decided by a long deciding set by advantage.

The Australian Open begins on Jan. 14.

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