Tennis French Open

French Open Format – Tie Break and Number of Sets Explained

The 2023 edition of Roland Garros is almost here. Of course, this means we’ve got two full weeks of top-tier tennis to look forward to. Like all of the Grand Slam tournaments, Roland Garros hosts multiple events over this two-week period too. This is what tends to cause a bit of confusion surrounding the French Open format for these individual events. And to be perfectly honest, this confusion is understandable.

French Open Format 2023

There are different formats in place for things like French Open doubles, French Open juniors, and for events like mixed doubles too. So if you are planning on watching these events, it makes sense to familiarize yourself with the respective formats. This brings me to the main purpose for today – helping you to understand what the French Open format is for these events and what rules you need to know too.

French Open Format for Individual Events

Although the French Open rules do overlap for certain competitions, I will break down the main events here to avoid any confusion. So if you’re ready to learn about the rules and format for the main competitions, simply check out the information below.

Men’s Singles

Let’s start with the draw size and take the rules and format from there. The men’s singles for the 2023 French Open follows a 128-player main draw. This means it requires seven successive wins to lift the trophy. As for the format of the matches, the men’s singles is the only event contested over the best of five sets. 

All other events are played as the best of three sets, which makes this event unique from the rest, of course. As for the tie-break rules, should a match go to 6-6 in the fifth set, a 10-point match tie-break is played to decide the match.

Women’s Singles

Much like the men’s singles event, the women’s singles also involves a 128-player main draw. There are 32 French Open seeds in the women’s singles, just as there is in the men’s singles. And the event also requires seven wins in a row for any individual to lift the trophy. As for the format of the matches, these matches are played as the best of three sets with a match tie-break at 6-6 in the third set. 

Doubles Events

Given that the men’s and women’s doubles events operate with the same format, I’ve grouped these together to keep things simple. On that note, both of these French Open doubles competitions will have 64 pairs involved in the main draw. There is no qualifying for the doubles events, which is different from the singles events. And because there are 64 pairs involved in the main draw, this means that there are 128 players in total. 

Furthermore, both the men’s and women’s doubles events are played as the best of three sets, with a full third set played to decide the match. Finally, just like the singles events, a match tie-break to 10 is played if it goes to 6-6 in the final set. 

Mixed Doubles

Although the mixed doubles is obviously categorized as a doubles event, it doesn’t follow the same format as the one mentioned above. In fact, the French Open format for mixed doubles is totally different when it comes to the final set. Instead of playing a full third set, the matches go straight into a 10-point tie-break to decide who wins. And regarding the draw size, it is exactly half the size of the men’s/women’s doubles. This means that there are 32 pairs set to compete in the main draw.


This is where you’ll start to see overlaps with the French Open rules for other competitions. Regarding the junior tournaments, the singles events follow the exact same format as the women’s singles and doubles events. This means that matches are played in a best-of-three format with a match tie-break to decide things if the score reaches 6-6 in the third set. However, unlike the draw size for the adult events, the juniors only have 64 players involved in the main draw. 

Wheelchair Events

The draw sizes for the wheelchair events are much smaller than they are for the standard competitions at Roland Garros. For that reason, as per the French Open schedule, the wheelchair events don’t get started until later in the first week. Adding to that, the men’s and women’s wheelchair singles events have just 12 main draw players involved. This then translates to six pairs in both of the doubles competitions.

Finally, in the wheelchair events, the singles matches play out a full third set while the doubles matches play a match tie-break instead.

Interesting French Open Rules for 2023

Now it’s time to discuss a couple of quick French Open rules that you should probably know ahead of Roland Garros 2023. These are rules that might confuse you when watching any of the respective matches on TV. Of course, we’d like to avoid that where possible, so please check out the two rules right here:

Wheelchair Tennis – Two Bounces Allowed

In all of the French Open wheelchair events, the ball is allowed to bounce twice. This is clearly different from the French Open rules for the main singles and doubles events in Paris. With that said, this rule isn’t unique to the French Open. All of the four Grand Slams allow two bounces when wheelchair tennis is played, for obvious reasons. 

No-Ad Scoring in Mixed Doubles

Another tricky rule that you need to understand ahead of the French Open is what happens at deuce (40-40). In all competitions, if a game reaches deuce, a player must then win two points in succession to win the game. This is the format that utilizes the ‘advantage’ rule. However, the mixed doubles event does not follow this rule. Instead, if a game reaches deuce, the returners must choose a side to return from. And the winner of that point then wins the game!

How Many Sets at French Open – A Snapshot for Your Reference

Let me leave you with a quick reference on how many sets are played at the French Open. You can use this as your guide throughout the 2023 tournament when needed:

  • Men’s Singles – Best of Five
  • Women’s Singles – Best of Three
  • Doubles – Best of Three
  • Mixed Doubles – Best of Three (Tie-break third set)
  • Juniors – Best of Three
  • Wheelchair – Best of Three

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