Super Tiebreak to decide NTRP matches?

Craig Sheppard

Hall of Fame
So just 2 years ago, I was playing 3 hour matches with full 3rd sets. This year it seems everyone has converted to the 10-point "super" tiebreak to decide the 3rd set in NTRP tournaments. Senior age-bracket tournaments don't seem to do this though. Is this a new USTA rule that NTRP tournaments are to use the 10-pt tiebreak to decide the 3rd set? I barely ever have a match over 2 hours now b/c of this... which in some ways is good, but I enjoyed grinding out the long matches. Kind of annoys me, but was wondering if it was mandated by the USTA.
 
The National championships have been played this way as well as the sectionals. My local league just went to it this season to conform. Some people like it better because in most cases you will have a winner. In some matches in our local league year they have timed matches, which limits it to 2 hours. If you dont finish they add up the total number of games at the time of the horn going off. So guys were taking advantage of this. Most 10pt tiebreaker matches get finished in the two hours.
I agree, i wish you could always finish the matches and play as long as you would like, but i guess the clubs couldnt make as much money.
 

Valjean

Hall of Fame
There seem to be a couple of ways to play those, too--I couldn't even find a service rotation for one in the rules. Logic (since it's a 10-point game), and some practice, says the first server serves two points; others start with one, as in a normal tiebreaker.

What do you guys go by?
 

Craig Sheppard

Hall of Fame
There seem to be a couple of ways to play those, too--I couldn't even find a service rotation for one in the rules. Logic (since it's a 10-point game), and some practice, says the first server serves two points; others start with one, as in a normal tiebreaker.

What do you guys go by?
Normal tiebreak rules... Serve 1 point, then rotate every 2 pts, switch sides at 6-all and multiples of 6. Only diff is play to 10, not 7.
 

Topaz

Legend
We've been using that format in our indoor adult league for as long as I've played in it. However, for outdoor, mixed, and seniors, we still use three full sets, but the matches are timed, so you may or may not finish that third set if you're playing it.
 

tennisnj

Professional
Its lame, it really becomes a coin flip
You hit the nail right on the head. Perfect reason I don't play in leagues anymore. Wins should be earned.
It's only a matter of time until HSs across the country are forced to change to this---& I won't be a happy coach.
 

Craig Sheppard

Hall of Fame
Its lame, it really becomes a coin flip and like with any tiebreaker, gives a huge advantage to the team or player with the better serve.
Yep. And it takes fitness out of the equation, b/c some people can't hack a 3rd set, but a lot of um, let's just say less fit players can handle 2 sets... but push them to a 3rd and they're sucking wind. I think that kind of win is worth something, b/c it shows you care about fitness. But w/ the tiebreak, it negates that.
 

Cruzer

Professional
In norcal super tie breaks have been in place at league district and sectional playoffs for a few years. Tournaments continued to be 2 out of 3 full sets although no-ad scoring which is sometimes in place takes away some of the fun. The last tournament I entered in norcal several months ago was still 2 out of 3 full sets.
 

volleyman

Semi-Pro
As far as I can see, this is one of the reasons USTA tournament tennis is not flourishing. Very few people I've talked to at tournaments prefer the "match-tiebreak" to playing out the full 3rd set.

Assuming that there is a legitimate time problem - which I question since tournaments did well with the traditional 2 out of 3 set format for many years - I've seen two compromises that I can endorse:

1) Play out the 3rd set, but start at 2-2. The set is shortened, but you still get to play out the games, deuces and all.

2) Play match tiebreaks in lieu of the 3rd set in all consolation matches, and all main draw matches until the Semifinals. Play out the 3rd set in main draw semifinals and finals.

As for USTA leagues, just go back to 2 out of 3 for all league play and district, sectional and national tournaments, except for leagues playing timed matches (which frankly, is antithetical to the nature of the game, but I understand that limited court times in some areas require compromises). It really does seem to be anti-climatic to bust your rear all season to earn the right to advance to a state, sectional or national championship, and not get to play out the third set because it would be too much of a "hardship" for the organizers.
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
As far as I can see, this is one of the reasons USTA tournament tennis is not flourishing. Very few people I've talked to at tournaments prefer the "match-tiebreak" to playing out the full 3rd set.

Assuming that there is a legitimate time problem - which I question since tournaments did well with the traditional 2 out of 3 set format for many years - I've seen two compromises that I can endorse:

1) Play out the 3rd set, but start at 2-2. The set is shortened, but you still get to play out the games, deuces and all.

2) Play match tiebreaks in lieu of the 3rd set in all consolation matches, and all main draw matches until the Semifinals. Play out the 3rd set in main draw semifinals and finals.

As for USTA leagues, just go back to 2 out of 3 for all league play and district, sectional and national tournaments, except for leagues playing timed matches (which frankly, is antithetical to the nature of the game, but I understand that limited court times in some areas require compromises). It really does seem to be anti-climatic to bust your rear all season to earn the right to advance to a state, sectional or national championship, and not get to play out the third set because it would be too much of a "hardship" for the organizers.
In our major local tournaments here we do it the 2nd way you describe.

To answer the OP, it's still up to the Tournament Director what match format to use, but Im sure many of them just dont want the hassle of having longer tournments. Obviously in the past they did it but now that there is an option I think that's the route that they are going to take.

I do agree though that most people (who have been playing for awhile and are serious about tennis which tournament participants usually are) do not like supertiebreakers.

Some tournaments here us no-ad scoring as well which is even more unpopular.

At least they dont use timed matches in tournaments yet (since it's not a sanctioned scoring option), you should be happy about that. I played a supertiebreaker is anticlimatic, having someone declared a winner just because time ran out and they happened to be up 6-1, 3-5 is even worse.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
I like some of those ideas, but they will never be instituted or discussed because the USTA always has their eyes on the Dollar First and foremost.
I despise the USTA on many levels, and they do control the League rules. However, as far as tournaments go, they are not the ones that determine the scoring format. Even in a sanctioned tournament, the tournament director is given control over this.

I completely understand what Craig is talking about regarding the loss of the "fitness" factor without third sets. I was playing tons of tournaments from '95 to '01, and many of my best wins came from third set comebacks where I outlasted my opponent. However, I took a 4 year break from the game, and when I returned in '05, I was shocked with the prevalence of the super-tiebreaker. Never-the-less, I have now bought into the benefits of it:

1.) There is an NTRP grand prix tournament series that a local club puts on. They used to play out the third set, and the tournament schedule was always WAYYYYY off. For instance, if your match was scheduled for 3:00 on Saturday, it was pretty likely that you wouldn't really get on the court until around 5:30 or 6:00 because of all the matches going overtime. The super-tiebreak has cleared this problem up, and that tournament series now plays fairly close to schedule... even as participation has increased by 50% or more.

2.) With the introduction of super-tiebreaks in tournaments, more matches can be scheduled and still keep the tournament moving. This means that you are more likely to have consolation events. I have played 17 tournaments so far this year, and all but 1 that had the super-tiebreak had consolations also... and only 1 that played with full regular scoring had consolations. Consolations are a big deal to me, especially if I'm going to pay $30 or more for an entry fee (which is the average I've paid this year) and travel a long way to play.

3.) As discussed briefly in another thread, I would rather play regular scoring for two sets and then have a super-tiebreaker for the third than have no-ad scoring for best of three. If, as some of you say, the super-tiebreak is a "coin flip", then what do you call no-ad scoring? (I played the #1 seed in a 35 & Over tournament earlier this year that was using no-ad scoring. This guy was 10X better than me, but we had a really close first set because I won 4 games on the no-ad point... and in all of those points, I either shanked a ball that landed in by luck, or I hit the net and had the ball dribble over for a winner. To me, this wasn't "earning" the match as much as getting lucky. With regular scoring, I probably only would have won 1 of those games.)

4.) As much as the full third set is about fitness, the super-tiebreak format is about focus and concentration. When I know I'm in a tournament with that format, I really try to win all of my matches in straight sets so I don't tempt fate with the breaker. If I do get into a super-tiebreak, it's all about holding serve and getting "mini-breaks" on the return so that I can take care of business. To me, this mentality leads to sharper tennis.
 

aidenous

Semi-Pro
The 3rd set tiebreak was never popular and I see them going to no ad scoring at some point along with timed matches. Instead of growing tennis they are chasing us away. Yep, dollar comes first.
 

steebo

Rookie
I hate losing a first set, winning the second set in a tiebreak, then having to play a 10 point tiebreak. May be just my imagination, but seems like no one ever wins both of those tiebreaks
 

Craig Sheppard

Hall of Fame
I despise the USTA on many levels, and they do control the League rules. However, as far as tournaments go, they are not the ones that determine the scoring format. Even in a sanctioned tournament, the tournament director is given control over this.

I completely understand what Craig is talking about regarding the loss of the "fitness" factor without third sets. I was playing tons of tournaments from '95 to '01, and many of my best wins came from third set comebacks where I outlasted my opponent. However, I took a 4 year break from the game, and when I returned in '05, I was shocked with the prevalence of the super-tiebreaker. Never-the-less, I have now bought into the benefits of it:

1.) There is an NTRP grand prix tournament series that a local club puts on. They used to play out the third set, and the tournament schedule was always WAYYYYY off. For instance, if your match was scheduled for 3:00 on Saturday, it was pretty likely that you wouldn't really get on the court until around 5:30 or 6:00 because of all the matches going overtime. The super-tiebreak has cleared this problem up, and that tournament series now plays fairly close to schedule... even as participation has increased by 50% or more.

2.) With the introduction of super-tiebreaks in tournaments, more matches can be scheduled and still keep the tournament moving. This means that you are more likely to have consolation events. I have played 17 tournaments so far this year, and all but 1 that had the super-tiebreak had consolations also... and only 1 that played with full regular scoring had consolations. Consolations are a big deal to me, especially if I'm going to pay $30 or more for an entry fee (which is the average I've paid this year) and travel a long way to play.

3.) As discussed briefly in another thread, I would rather play regular scoring for two sets and then have a super-tiebreaker for the third than have no-ad scoring for best of three. If, as some of you say, the super-tiebreak is a "coin flip", then what do you call no-ad scoring? (I played the #1 seed in a 35 & Over tournament earlier this year that was using no-ad scoring. This guy was 10X better than me, but we had a really close first set because I won 4 games on the no-ad point... and in all of those points, I either shanked a ball that landed in by luck, or I hit the net and had the ball dribble over for a winner. To me, this wasn't "earning" the match as much as getting lucky. With regular scoring, I probably only would have won 1 of those games.)

4.) As much as the full third set is about fitness, the super-tiebreak format is about focus and concentration. When I know I'm in a tournament with that format, I really try to win all of my matches in straight sets so I don't tempt fate with the breaker. If I do get into a super-tiebreak, it's all about holding serve and getting "mini-breaks" on the return so that I can take care of business. To me, this mentality leads to sharper tennis.
These are all valid points... I can see the reasoning for it. And you're right, the last few tournaments I've been in have all gone pretty close to schedule. Maybe the main draw can be 3 full sets & the consolation be super tiebreaks? I do like the idea of consolation draws, and I probably wouldn't play a tournament that didn't have them (unless I was playing doubles too).
 

gjoc

Semi-Pro
Normal tiebreak rules... Serve 1 point, then rotate every 2 pts, switch sides at 6-all and multiples of 6. Only diff is play to 10, not 7.
The only twist on that for us, in our indoor league, is that there’s no changing ends.

We change ends at the end of each set, including at the end of the second set, prior to playing the 18-point (first to ten by two) match tiebreak, if required due to splitting the two sets (regular scoring).

The latest thing for outdoor doubles play, in our area at least, is the so-called Coman Tiebreak format.

For that, you play the first point of either a 12-point (first to seven by two) set tiebreak or 18-point (first to ten by two) match tiebreak as you normally would, then change ends after every four points (every two servers) thereafter.

That just means that everybody gets to keep serving at their same end, which I think is awesome.
 
Top