A tennis match is composed of points, games, and sets. A match is won when a player or a doubles team wins the majority of prescribed sets.
A game consists of a sequence of points played with the same player serving, and is won by the first player(s) to have won at least four points by two points or more over their opponent. In scoring an individual standard game of tennis, the server's score is always called first and the opponent's score second. Score calling is unique to the sport of tennis in that each point has a corresponding call that is synonymous with that point value.
|Number of points won||Corresponding call|
In tennis, a set consists of a sequence of games played with alternating service and return roles. There are two types of set formats that require different types of scoring.
- An advantage set is played until a player or team wins six games and that player or team has a two-game lead over their opponent(s). The set continues, without tiebreaker, until a player or team wins the set by two games.
- A tie-break set is played with the same rules as the advantage set, except when the score is tied at 6–6, a tie-break game (or tiebreaker) is played. Typically, the tie-break game continues until one player wins seven points by a margin of two or more points. However, many tie-break games are played with different tiebreak point requirements, such as 8 or 10 points.
Because tennis is scored set by set and game by game, a player may lose a match despite winning the majority of points and/or games played.
Consider a player who wins six games in each of two sets, all by a score of game-30. The winner has scored 4x12 = 48 points and the loser 2x12 = 24. Suppose also that the loser wins four games in each set, all by a score of game-love. The loser has scored 4x8 = 32 points and the winner zero in those games. The final score is a win by 6–4, 6–4; total points 48–56.