How Many Sets Are Played In Men’s Tennis? (You Need To Check Out These Mind-Blowing Facts About The Number Of Sets Played In Men’s Tennis!!)

Last Updated on October 27, 2023 by Alex PT

In men’s tennis, matches are typically best of five sets. The player who wins three sets first wins the match. Each set is won by the first player to reach six games with a two-game lead, except in tiebreak situations.

Parameters (In Questions)Answers
How many sets are in a game of tennis?For men’s tennis, there are five sets, while for women’s tennis there are three sets
How many sets are played in US Open tennis?Five sets are played in the men’s category, while three sets are played in the women’s category.

You need to be familiar with the number of sets played in a tennis match if you’re a tennis player or a tennis fan. Tennis is a quite simple sport once you get the hang of it, even if it might seem like a complicated sport at first. 

Each tournament’s rules are different from one another on how many sets are played in a single match but a typical tennis match is played as five in men’s tennis and as three in women’s tennis. Women play two out of three sets, while men play three out of five sets in Grand Slams matches. However, with a match tiebreaker in place of the 3rd set, tennis matches are played as two out of three sets in doubles

There are many explanations why the guidelines differ based on the event actually being played, which may include limitations in the figures of courts offered, the endurance of the players, as well as TV rights. In addition to the standard scoring strategies mentioned above, you will find far more “modern” scoring systems that were adopted more and far more regularly. In this easy guide, we will break all of them down for you.

Right before we get going – we are beginning out with the idea that you comprehend the way the fundamentals of the tennis scoring system work. In case you can utilize slightly relaxing on the big difference between matches, sets, games, and points, you can take a look at our other articles that talk more about the Tennis Scoring System. The Ultimate Guide of ours on the Tennis Scoring System. We place a great deal of energy into it, and we help it you solve all your questions on the Tennis scoring system.  

Professional Tennis

The number of sets played in professional tennis events depends upon the event as well as the tournament which is now being played. Many diverse elements influence the scoring rules: whether it is a single or maybe doubles match, whether it is a male’s and female’s event, so the dimensions of the complete competition. The description for the number of sets played at every pro tournament is under.

Men’s Tennis VS Women’s Tennis – Differences In Sets!

Women’s tennis events rules are different from men’s events. Almost all of the women’s tennis tournaments are governed and controlled by the WTA, Women’s Tennis Association, while most of the men’s professional tennis tournaments are controlled and governed by the ATP,  Association of Tennis Professionals. As you can see the two organizations are different, so they have different rules. 

Historically, more sets have been played in men’s tennis matches than in women’s, but there has been an upgrade to make both men and women have the same match formats (2 out of 3 sets). 

Grand Slams

If you’re talking about the most expected and admired tennis events in the world, then the Grand Slams should not be underestimated. In a single calendar year, there are normally four Grand Slam tournaments played – the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the French Open. This kind of high-standard tournament are usually played by only the best tennis players in the world. 

Three out of five sets is how the men’s main draw matches are played at Grand Slam tournaments. With the exception of Wimbledon, two out of three sets are played in the qualifying draw matches. Men are allowed to play two out of three sets at Wimbledon before getting to the qualifying rounds where they now have to play three out of five sets. Two out of three sets are played at women’s Grand Slam matches. 

Most people think that Grand Slam tournaments are organized and controlled by the WTA or the ATP, but they are totally wrong. Grand Slam tournaments are not organized by either the WTA or the ATP but are organized and controlled by the International Tennis Federation, ITF. Therefore, you should not be surprised to see them making their own distinct rules. 

Grand Slams have distinctive and unique rules regarding the scoring of the fifth set. If players are tied at six games to six, they play a tiebreaker at the Australian Open and the U.S. Open. If players are tied at twelve games to twelve, they will have to play a tiebreak at Wimbledon. Also, the first player to win a two-game margin wins the game automatically, and there is no tiebreak in the fifth set at the Roland Garros, French Open. 

Matches used to go on for an extended period of time since more sets were played at Grand Slams tournaments. If you’ve ever heard of the longest tennis matches, it might surprise you to know that they were all played in Grand Slam events. We know it’s hard to believe, but one of those games was played for longer than eleven hours. 

ATP & WTA Tour Events

Any tournament bigger than the Challenger and Futures Tour events but smaller than Grand Slams is typically referred to as a “tour event”. Tour events are played by players ranked between 1 and 250 in the world, and events majorly vary in size. Regardless of whether it is a main draw or a qualifying match, women and men both play two out of three sets at your events. If players tie at six games to six, the third set is normally played with a tiebreak in such events. In the time past, three out of five sets were played in the finals of ATP 1000 events, but due to the increasingly demanding calendar of tennis players, the ATP had no choice but to change the number of sets that should be played in the finals.  

Futures And Challengers

The two starting points of every tennis lover aspiring to become a professional tennis player are the Challenger and Future tournaments. These two tournaments pay quite low, and they are much less fascinating than the Tour events and Grand Slams. Both women and men professional players play two out of three sets in the main draw in both Challenger and Future singles matches. The women’s & men’s qualifying draws play two from three sets with a 10-point tiebreak in place of a final set in the Future event. This is a brand new rule that was placed into place in 2019 to reduce matches for players in qualifying. The key reason why qualifying matches are shorter compared to primary draw matches is usually to not constantly tire players that qualify for the primary draw.

How Many Sets Are In A Game Of Tennis?

A standard game of tennis is composed of sets, games, and points. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

  1. Sets: A tennis match is typically the best of three sets for women and the best of five sets for men in most professional tournaments. In some cases, like Grand Slam events, men play best of five sets, while women play best of three sets.
  2. Games: Each set consists of games. To win a set, a player or team must win at least six games with a two-game advantage. If the score reaches 6-6, a tiebreak is often played to determine the set winner.
  3. Scoring Within Games: Games are further divided into points. The scoring system within a game goes 15-30-40, with the server’s score stated first. When both players or teams have 40 (known as “deuce”), one must win two consecutive points to win the game. The first point after deuce is referred to as “advantage in” or “ad in,” and the second is “game point.”
  4. Tiebreaks: In some cases, a tiebreak is played when a set reaches 6-6. A tiebreak is a separate game played to seven points, with a two-point advantage required to win. The first player/team to reach seven points with a two-point lead wins the tiebreak and the set.

Different Kinds of Set Formats Explained

Tennis features various set formats in different tournaments, each with its unique rules. Here are the most common set formats:

  1. Best of Three Sets:
    • In most women’s singles matches and some lower-level men’s tournaments, players compete in a best-of-three-sets format.
    • The first player to win two sets is declared the match winner.
  2. Best of Five Sets:
    • This is the standard format in men’s singles matches at most professional tournaments, including Grand Slam events like Wimbledon and the US Open.
    • The player who first wins three sets is declared the match winner.
  3. No-Ad Scoring:
    • No-ad scoring is sometimes used to shorten matches, particularly in doubles or lower-level tournaments.
    • When the score reaches deuce (40-40), the next point decides the game. The receiving team chooses which side to receive from.
  4. Super Tiebreak (10-Point Tiebreak):
    • In doubles matches, especially in the final set, a super tiebreak to 10 points may replace the third set.
    • The first team to reach 10 points with a two-point advantage wins the super tiebreak and the match.
  5. No-Tiebreak in the Final Set:
    • In some tournaments, there is no tiebreak in the final set. Players must win by a two-game margin.
    • This format can lead to extended final sets, such as the famous 70-68 fifth set in the Wimbledon match between Isner and Mahut in 2010.
  6. Champion’s Tiebreak (10-Point Tiebreak):
    • A variation of the tiebreak, the champion’s tiebreak is often used in doubles and occasionally in singles.
    • It is played to 10 points, with a two-point advantage required to win.

How Many Sets Are Played In Men’s Wimbledon Final?

At the 2019 Wimbledon, the championship tennis match of the men’s singles tournament is the 2019 Wimbledon men’s singles final. The match went on for four hours and fifty-seven minutes, where the second seed Roger Federer was defeated by first seed Novak Djokovic in five sets to emerge as the winner of the title after also claiming the 2014 and 2015 Wimbledon finals.

How Many Sets Are Played In US Open Tennis?

If players are tied at six games to six, they play a tiebreaker at the U.S. Open. But anyway, five sets are played in the men’s category, while three sets are played in the women’s category. The last U.S. Open Tennis Tournament took place from the 31st of August to the 13th of September 2020, where Dominic Thiem defeated Alexander Zverev, and Victoria Azarenka was defeated by Naomi Osaka. Dominic Thiem became the first player in the history of the U.S. Open, having won from two sets down to the opposition. 

Why Do Male Tennis Players Play More Sets?

Truly male tennis players play more sets than female tennis players but what you need to know is that women’s matches take more time to play than men’s matches. Men play more games while women play longer games. 

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, this blog post was able to better enlighten you on how many sets are played in men’s tennis. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments.


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