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One of the main reasons why tennis is such an interesting sport to watch is due to the fact that it can be so unpredictable. Sometimes, a match that was expected to end quite quickly can turn into an epic battle between both sides that goes on forever. Alternatively, a game that was expected to last for a long while could be over quite quickly.
All tennis players will have good days and bad days, and due to this fact, it is difficult to determine exactly how long a tennis match will last. There are also lots of different formats that can be decided throughout the game, which can add more time on to the overall game.
In this article, we are going to explore the question: how long is a tennis match? Hopefully, we will provide you with all of the answers that you are looking for, and you can find out exactly how long the average game of tennis lasts. Just keep reading to find out more.
How Long is a Tennis Match?
On average, best of three tennis matches usually last for around 90 minutes, and best of five matches last around 2 hours and 45 minutes. The fastest professional tennis matches ever have lasted around 20 minutes, but the longest match lasted for an exhausting length of 11 hours and 5 minutes.
The fastest, most one-sided best of three set matches could be decided by two rapid 6-0 sets in around 30 minutes. A set that goes to a tie-break will usually last for around an hour, so a close best of three set match can take more than three hours. Best of five set matches can end in less than an hour, but five long sets can take five to six hours.
The Average Duration of a Tennis Set
There are lots of figures that could give you the estimated length of a tennis game, but these figures can be influenced by different circumstances. Such circumstances could change the expected length of a set.
On average, it is thought that a typical tennis set will last for around 40 minutes, though this can vary.
This can also vary due according to the surface of the court. The shorter rallies of quick grass courts, like those of Wimbledon, tend to take a little under 40 minutes.
Alternatively, slow clay courts tend to produce longer rallies, so an average set at the French Open can take significantly longer than 40 minutes. However, these numbers are only average figures, and a set can take as little as 15 minutes or as long as more than an hour.
How Long Three Set Matches Take?
When a match is decided over the best of three sets, it can be won in two sets if the same player were to win both games. However, if the first two sets are won by either person, then it will take three sets.
Two rapid sets would typically take around 30 minutes, but two close ones can take over two hours. If the average time per set is 40 minutes, we can expect a match that is decided in two sets to last for around 1 hour and 20 minutes. If the first two sets are shared, then a third will be necessary, and this could suggest a match that lasts for around 2 hours.
If all 3 sets are close, maybe even being decided by a tie break, then it is highly likely that the match will take more than 3 hours. If both players are particularly cautious, then a match can take a great deal longer than this.
How Long Do Five-Set Matches Take?
A best-of-five-set match can be resolved in three, four, or five sets. If again, you were to assume that each set takes 40 minutes to complete, then this would suggest that the majority of matches would take somewhere between 2 hours and 3 hours and 20 minutes.
However, they can progress more quickly or slowly than this. Some one-sided matches have been completed within an hour, but there have been some encounters that have lasted more than 5 hours.
In one instance, Wimbledon 2010 saw John Isner defeat Nicolas Mahut in a match that took 11 hours and 5 minutes. This game was so long that it took place over 3 separate days.
The main reason for this lengthy match was that both players were better at serving than returning, which means that they were both serving well throughout the game.
They found it difficult to break serve, especially as they grew tired. To prevent this from happening again, Wimbledon introduced a tie-break at 12-12 in the fifth set.
How Long Do College Tennis Matches Take?
NCAA matches will start with a round of doubles matches, which are all played over a single set. In all matches, there are no ‘lets’ and sudden death deuces are played. This typically makes the sets slightly quicker than professional matches. The doubles round is likely to take between 30 and 45 minutes.
After this has taken place, six single matches will begin, which are played over the best of 3 sets, but the final set is a 10-point tie-break. With the special rules, it is possible that the singles round will be completed within 2 hours, and the whole match will last for around 2-3 hours.
How Long Do High School Tennis Matches Take?
There is no format for high school tennis matches that is used universally, but they typically start with a doubles round, followed by mixed doubles and then singles matches.
In some states, high school tennis matches can last for more than four hours, and in Texas, where matches can incorporate 19 individual contests, 6 hours or more is not unheard of.
As you have probably now gathered, tennis matches can vary in length, depending on lots of different factors. They can range from anywhere between 30 minutes and multiple hours, depending on the circumstances surrounding the game.