Ten-Pointer or Third Set?

qAt last week’s Florida Super Senior Grand Prix tournament at Colonial, they used the ten-point “Match tie breaker” in place of a full third set for all doubles matches. Good idea?

Many of the matches (including finals) were decided by just a few swing points during that critical march towards the ten points. Here are some questions to ponder…

• Is it fair, to focus critical match results on such a small number of points?
• On the other side, doesn’t it make the time more manageable for scheduling other tournament matches?
• Isn’t it also easier on us seniors?
• Should the singles also be played the same way?
• Or, should only the “older age groups” (75, 80, etc) have that feature?
• Should the early round matches (singles or doubles) feature that; but the semi’s and finals play a full third set?

What do you think?

PAUL VELTMAN: According to Willy, he had successful triple bypass surgery yesterday and may be back on the court in eight weeks!

Florida Super Senior Grand Prix

This week, the second Florida Super Senior Grand Prix tournament is being played at Naples’ World Tennis Club. I am a lower seed in both singles and doubles (with Tom McCune) and am scheduled to play my first round match today (rain is forecast).

For the full schedule, click HERE.

In case you missed the final results from last week’s tournament at the Colonial, click HERE

If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at George@seniortennisandfitness.com

12 thoughts on “Ten-Pointer or Third Set?

  1. I had just been thinking about that as I was going over Clive’s and my final match last week. Won 10-8 in the tiebreaker. Those sure can go either way. I think that’s why the Bryan brothers occasionally lose. I like your idea of playing the 3rd set in the semi’s and finals. Whatever way is used, it’s the same for both sides:). You win some, you lose some:).

  2. A little background. On the FL SSGP because it’s in the peak of the season we aren’t able to start matches until approx. 11 am. This means that often with three set matches we run into playing under the lights in doubles. So the solution was to go to two sets and TB for third. Granted it can give the lower team maybe a better chance to win, but is that so bad? Players use it in league play and even the pros play shorten format. However, I would be in favor of having three sets for finals and maybe semi’s where scheduling is not an issue. I appreciate your input.

  3. I am totally against this in doubles. I always have been. To enter a tournament in doubles only and have it end in a hot streak for one team or the other where a couple of let cords or slick lines can really change an entire set. A full third set doesn’t turn so much on a couple of weird shots. ANTICLIMACTIC is the word that best describes the feeling after losing in a 3rd set 10 point TB.

  4. The 10 point tie-breaker instead of 3rd set makes playing both singles and doubles a little less of an endurance contest but decreases the experience for the doubles specialists. I predict more doubles specialists will compete in two age groups when possible.

  5. I have never liked the 10 point super tiebreaker in any situation especially in
    a league or tournament. It might make sense indoors where your court time becomes more critical. I would think tournament players in more than one event would also prefer it.

    I believe that most avid tennis players do not like it and I believe we should all lobby
    with the USTA to dump it.

    Thanks George for bringing this up to your audience with key people like Larry and Fred responding!


  6. A third set in the semis and finals would be preferable. At this point in the tournament it will be easier to schedule matches before dark.

  7. For those in the 75-80 or older age groups, the 10 pointer makes sense from an endurance piont of view. We here at Sea Oaks(Vero Beach) play 10 pointers to decide matches in our league. No age restrictions in those matches. Makes it more interesting. One week in the fall had all 4 matches decided by 10 pointers and there were no complaints except for the losers, of course.

  8. Here in AZ all USTA League play, both singles & doubles, whether District or Sectional matches, is decided by a 10-point tie breaker in the third set. I do not think it is fair that a few points, or a lucky shot might determine the outcome. I recognize that the latter could also occur in a three-set format, but it is more likely in a tie-break. I believe that with the USTA it is less about fairness or players’ endurance concerns, but is all about scheduling & time on the courts.

  9. I don’t think there is anything inherently unfair about a 10 pointer. After all, the players have demonstrated they are evenly matched by the mere fact that they split sets and are now playing a 10 pointer to resolve the match, and the reality is that one of the players is going to walk away a loser even if a traditional third set is played. But all other things being equal, I much prefer playing a real third set if there is a chance to do so.

    There is something quite …. arbitrary is I think the best word ….. about a 10 pointer. It is kind of the same feeling that you get playing no ad scoring, when the score reaches 40 (or 3) all and the next point is sudden death. If you lose that point, you feel kind of gipped knowing that, had the scoring been regular deuce/ad, you would only be down ad point and might still go on to win the game. Or when your opponent, or you, shank a ball or it dribbles on the net and by happenstance falls in on game point (or even worse, set or match point). Or when the ball hits a line or a clump of dirt on clay and just skids or takes a funny hop so what should have been a routine return becomes unplayable, not necessarily because the other player hit a good shot but because stuff happens . Again, the feeling is arbitrariness. Kind of like you don’t necessarily deserve to lose (or win) but forces external to the players’ skills have contributed to an outcome. So the result is, somehow, less satisfying with a 10 pointer than playing it out traditionally.

    I do agree that 10 pointers are probably more arbitrary in doubles than singles because doubles is such a fast game that there is much less time and/or opportunity for a team to recover from an occasional lucky shot in the middle of a 10 pointer. But even in singles the same thing can happen, and there is the further issue that singles is supposed to be a more athletic game — a game of stamina, speed and endurance some may say — than doubles, but the 10 pointer inherently deprives the fitter player of that advantage and tends to even the playing field a bit.

    The only time when I actually prefer playing a 10 pointer to a traditional third set is when it is brutally hot or humid and I am reaching the point where I would rather have root canal than stay any longer on the court than is absolutely necessary to finish.

  10. God knows I’ve lost more than my fair share of 10 pointers in lieu of a 3rd set, and probably for that reason alone I don’t love them. But that being said, I know now that I can’t let up after winning a 1st set, so it’s more a matter of mental discipline. Keep your concentration and win the first two sets and you won’t be “surprised” by a 3rd set tiebreaker, and all the arbitrariness that entails.

  11. Third set TB’s stink. Conditioning has always been a big factor in Tennis and you are favoring those players who don’t want a full set. 2 of 3 full sets is the ONLY way to go and let those seniors who can’t play three stay out of the tournaments. Why take the conditioning out of the game. It’s a joke.

    But Tom, tell us how you really feel! Thanks, georget

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