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The second half of the year is marked by one of the most important competitions in tennis, and knowing the US Open rules is essential if you want to feel all the excitement the tournament can offer;

And it was with this in mind that we created this uncomplicated manual with a list of all the US Open rules.

So, if you already have your favorite tennis players and just need to understand how the competition takes place, read on and clear up all your doubts.

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List of all US Open rules

The US Open follows the rules established by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), regarding scoring, sets and more;

The US Open rules are designed to ensure fairness and equal competition between the players. What’s more, they make the matches more fierce and interesting;

In this context, it’s worth noting that the competition also has its own “VAR”. If you’re used to watching soccer, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s a type of support referee, which allows you to check the validity of points;

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However, forget the rules you see in soccer, because the whole verification process is quite different. In fact, it’s not the “VAR” that calls the referee, but an athlete who asks for the challenge;

Later in this article, we’ll explain more about how this feature works in tennis, okay? For now, let’s look at US Open RULES, related to the match is retirement;

Tournament format

The US Open is made up of five main categories:

  • Simples Masculino
  • Simples Feminino
  • Duplas Masculinas
  • Duplas Femininas
  • Duplas Mistas

Each match is in single elimination format, meaning that at the end, one player will be eliminated and the other will move on to the next stages. There is no accumulation of points, all matches and phases are knockout matches;

The men’s and women’s singles brackets start with 128 players (this means that 68 matches are played in the first round of the US Open), while the doubles competitions start with 64 teams.

Also read: All About Wimbledon: the world’s 1st Tennis Grand Slam

How many sets is a US Open match?

According to the rules of the US Open, the number of sets varies according to the sport being played:

  • Simples Masculino: Melhor de cinco sets.
  • Simples Feminino: Melhor de três sets.
  • Duplas Masculinas, Femininas e Mistas: Melhor de três sets.

In addition, all sets, including the deciding set, use the tiebreak if the games reach 6-6;

The tiebreak is played until one player or team reaches at least a two-point difference.

For example, the longest match in US Open history in terms of duration took place in 1992;

The match was played between Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang in the men’s semi-final. The match lasted 5 hours and 26 minutes, setting a tournament record for length. Edberg won the match 6-7(3), 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-4.

Read also: Tennis Glossary: ace, volley, fault, deuce, serve and more!


The scores in the games follow the sequence:

  • 0 (love);
  • 15;
  • 30;
  • 40;
  • game. 

If both players reach 40, the score is called “deuce”, and one player must win two consecutive points to win the game.

A player or pair must win six games with a difference of at least two to win a set. If the set reaches 6-6, a tiebreak is played.

So if a set ends 6-7, for example, you have to keep playing until one of the two players wins by two games;

In men’s singles, the match is won by the player who wins three sets first (best of five sets). In the women’s singles and doubles competitions, the match is won by the player or team who wins two sets first (best of three sets).

Conditions and surface

Unlike Wimbledon, which has a grass court, and Roland Garros, with a clay court, the US Open is played on hard courts, which makes the competition known for its fast pace.

How do the US Open’s rules on electronic review work?

The US Open uses the Hawk-Eye system for electronic reviews of contested points;

Each player has a limited number of challenges per set (three, plus an additional one in a tiebreak).

Challenges happen when a player believes that a line call (or marking) has been incorrect. In such cases, he can “challenge” the call by requesting a review by Hawk-Eye.

When a challenge is requested, the images from the cameras are immediately processed by the system. Hawk-Eye then generates an animation showing the trajectory of the ball and where it landed in relation to the court lines.

The animation generated by Hawk-Eye is displayed on stadium screens and TV broadcasts, allowing players, referees and spectators to clearly see whether the ball was in or out.

The result of the review is communicated to the chair umpire, who then confirms or corrects the original call;

According to US Open rules, if the challenge is successful (i.e. the original call was incorrect), the player keeps the number of challenges. If the challenge fails, the player loses one of their available challenges.

US Open rules on athlete conduct

Tennis players must adhere to the ITF code of conduct, which includes rules on court behavior, language, time between points and dress.

Violations of the code of conduct can result in warnings, and even loss of points, loss of games or even disqualification, depending on the seriousness of the infraction.

Time between points

Players have a limited time (usually 25 seconds) between points. Exceeding this time can result in a warning or penalty.

Warm-up and breaks

Before the start of a match, the players are entitled to a five-minute warm-up. Breaks between sets and during changes of sides (every two games) are allowed, following a strict schedule.

Doctor and treatment

Players can request medical attention during the match. Normally, one medical time-out per set is allowed, with exceptions for emergencies.

The US Open rules are designed to ensure fair competition between the players, while also providing an exciting experience for spectators;

With clear scoring rules and advanced technologies, the US Open continues to be one of the most prestigious and innovative tennis tournaments in the world, one worth following and cheering for!

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