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In tennis a match is made up of a series of sets that must be won to be ultimately successful. In some men’s tennis tournaments matches will be played under best of five sets rules, in which the victor must win three sets. Some men’s tournaments operate under best of three set rules, while women’s tournaments are also best of three sets, with the winner having to win two sets.
A set is won when a player wins six games (each made up of four points) with a winning margin of two. Each player takes it in turn to serve a game and therefore has the advantage. If a set reaches 6-6 then a tiebreaker is usually introduced as a deciding game.
As with many sports that are broken up into sections – such as frames in snooker – a set in tennis produces the ability for a bookmaker to offer a number of different betting possibilities as the match goes on.
Bettors can place wagers on the winner of the first set, the amounts of sets needed to win a match or tournament, or to predict that a player will win – or lose – the first set but go on to win the overall match.
In-play betting also means that the odds for all bets relating to sets can change dramatically throughout a match – so the skill can often lie more in knowing when to make the bet, rather than which player to bet on.
The longest professional tennis match in history occurred at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. The final set ended 70 games to 68 and lasted just over 8 hours. The entire match was clocked at 11 hours and 5 minutes.