How is tennis scored?

Breaking Down the Intricacies of Tennis Points, Games, and Sets

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Points within a Game

  • First Point: When a player wins their first point in a game, it's called "15."

  • Second Point: The subsequent point is marked as "30."

  • Third Point: The next is "40."If a player wins the fourth point and is ahead by two points, they secure the game. However, if both competitors reach 40-40, it's known as "deuce."

  • Deuce: This is a situation in which both players have scored three points in a game (40-40). To win from deuce, a player must score two consecutive points.

  • Advantage: After deuce, the player who wins the next point has an "advantage." If this player wins the subsequent point, they take the game. If the opposing player wins, the score reverts to deuce.

Games within a Set

  • A standard tennis set is won by the first player to reach six games, but there's a caveat: a player must win by at least two games.
  • If the set score reaches 6-6, a tiebreaker is usually played to decide the winner of that set.


  • Each point in a tiebreak is simply scored with sequential numbers. The first player to reach seven points, leading by at least two points, wins the tiebreaker and the set. If it's 6-6 in the tiebreak, play continues until a player leads by two points.

Sets within a Match

  • In most major tournaments, men's matches are best out of five sets (a player needs three sets to win). Women's matches are typically best out of three sets, requiring two sets to win. Some tournaments use best of three sets for men as well.

  • Grand Slam format (except the US Open): If players are tied at 2-2 in sets (in a best-of-five match) or 1-1 in sets (in a best-of-three match), the final set is not decided by a tiebreak. Instead, players continue until one leads by two games.

  • US Open format: A tiebreak is played at 6-6 in the final set, similar to earlier sets.

Understanding the tennis scoring system is pivotal for both players and enthusiasts. While it may appear convoluted to newcomers, the system adds suspense and excitement, making tennis matches unpredictable and engaging.