Final set marathons at the Australian Open are a thing of the past after the grand slam abandoned advantage sets for next month's tournament.
Instead, the Australian Open will introduce so-called 'super tie-breakers' – decided by the first player to 10 points – when the score reaches 6-6 in the deciding set of men's and women's singles matches.
In a match that lasted 4 hours 44 minutes, Francesca Schiavone beats Svetlana Kuznetsova 16-14 in a three-hour long third set during the Australian Open in 2011.Credit:Joe Armao
The move means the four grand slams will operate with four different scoring systems to decide matches that go deep into the final set.
Only two months ago, Wimbledon introduced a final-set tie-breaker but, crucially, it will only be used when the score reaches 12-12.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said the controversial move was made after extensive consultation.
"We went with a 10-point tiebreak at six-games-all in the final set to ensure the fans still get a special finale to these often epic contests, with the longer tiebreak still then allowing for that one final twist or change of momentum in the contest," he said.
"This longer tiebreak also can lessen some of the serving dominance that can prevail in the shorter tiebreak."
Marathon matches with long deciding sets have been a hallmark at Wimbledon and the Australian Open in recent years.
At Wimbledon, in particular, the tournament has been famous for some extraordinarily long finals sets.
Kevin Anderson, left, and John Isner change ends during their semi-final match at Wimbledon this year.Credit:AP
This year, big-serving American John Isner slugged it out against Kevin Anderson in the semi-finals, before succumbing 26-24 in the deciding set. He was also part of the longest match in Wimbledon history eight years ago when the final set lasted more than 130 games.
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