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Rare events in tennis

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In recent years, rare events have happened in professional tennis matches. In 2010, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played a final set of 138 games, in 2012 Yaroslava Shvedova played a perfect set against Sara Errani winning all 24 points and in 2013, Benjamin Balleret and Guillaume Couillard played a 70 point tie-breaker. The 70 point tie-breaker may not count as an official record because there was no chair umpire. However, 38 point tie-breakers have occurred on 2 occasions in Grand Slam singles tennis at the time of writing. The purpose of the current research was to produce probabilistic models of such events and apply these to the proportion of points won at the different Grand Slam tournaments in 2012 to determine the likelihood of such events in Grand Slam tennis. This analysis suggests that a perfect set can be expected in women's singles once every 82 years and once every 214 years in men's singles. A tie-breaker of 40 points or more can be expected in women's singles once every 361 years and once every 38 years in men's singles. A final set reaching 68-68 can be expected once every 2,831 years in women's singles and once every 240 years in men's singles.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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