Rules of Tennis Doubles Tiebreaker

By Michele M. Howard

Most official tennis matches sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation use a 12-point tiebreaker to determine the winner of a tied set. The format, scoring and procedures are basically the same between the singles and doubles tie-breakers with one exception -- the serving rotation. Instead of rotating the serve between two players, four players participate in the rotation.

General Tiebreaker Rules

Just as in singles, a doubles tiebreaker is played when the score in a set is tied at six games. The first point of the tiebreaker is served from the deuce court and numerical scoring is used -- 0, 1, 2, 3, and so on. Singles players and doubles teams change ends of the court after every 6 points. The first player or team to win a minimum of 7 points and have a 2-point lead wins the tiebreaker and the set. For example, a player or team can win the tiebreaker with a score of 7-2, 7-5, 8-6 or 12-10.

Doubles Tiebreaker Serving Rotation

The team and player whose turn it is to serve serves the first point. The service order between the teams must remain the same as it was throughout the set. After the first point, the serve goes to the other team, and the player whose turn it is to serve serves 2 points. The teams continue to alternate the serve every 2 points until one team has at least 7 points and a 2-point lead.


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