Tennis: Doing Away With Tiebreaks
Not all tennis matches go on till the last set and not all deciders go on till the tiebreak. Some of the tournaments (the French Open is one) have done away with the tiebreak and the winner is decided based on a 2 game margin in the final set. Knowing the energy levels of some of the players, we could very well end up seeing epic matches like the scores mentioned below:
No. 26-seeded Jose Acasuso and No. 32 Nicolas Massu won five-setters. Acasuso edged Fabrice Santoro 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 1-6, 11-9 in a match suspended in the final set on Sunday because of darkness. Massu outlasted Xavier Malisse 6-1, 7-5, 1-6, 4-6, 9-7.
I thought that it might be beneficial to the tournament organizer and the player(s) if the match is decided using a tiebreak. Like the penalty shoot-out in football, the tiebreak in tennis provides a verdict in the shortest possible time. By doing so, the players need not burn out during the prelim stages of a tournament. They could save their best for the final stages of the tournament. It is better if this rule is applied from the quarter-final or the semi-final stage as the stakes are pretty high. If you look at the first match mentioned above, a total of 52 games have been played in a first round match. I thought there would be some compelling reason behind this rule and got hold of a Columbia University research paper (in PDF form) which concludes that the tiebreak is generally beneficial for the less consistent player.