break (someone's) serve

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break (someone's) serve

In tennis, to win a game that is being served by one's opponent. She broke her opponent's serve in the last game, and it looks like the match is now firmly in her control.
See also: break, serve

break someone's serve

In tennis and related sports, win a game served by one's opponent, as in The only way he'll win the match is to break Bill's serve. The use of serve, from the earlier service, meaning "starting play" in these sports, dates from the early 1600s.
See also: break, serve
References in periodicals archive ?
The opening set saw Jackson break serve three times finally prevailing on her seventh set point.
With the score level at 5-5 the set looked destined to be decided by a tie-break but Henman upped a gear to break serve.
Novak was the first to break serve when he took a 2-1 lead in the opening set, but the Briton had the chance to break back immediately with some deft volleying.
Henman took advantage to break serve, but just as the crowd were gathering their belongings together and expecting to be leaving Centre Court, the Briton was broken to love as he served for the match.
Estonian Kanepi, who beat Britain's Laura Robson on Monday, took advantage of three Lisicki double faults to break serve for a 2-1 lead in the second set but the German 23rd seed reeled off four games in a row to stand on the brink of the last four.
Wozniacki, playing her first Grand Slam as the World No.1, had a match point at 5-4 and 40-30 in the second set before Li rallied to break serve and eventually take the set, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
When it is hot, the ball travels faster through the air and it is much harder to break serve.