MACAU, December 2, 2023 (Press Release)
Top-level professional tennis has finally arrived in Macau after a long time, as the opening matches of the highly anticipated 2023 MGM Macau Tennis Masters finally got underway here Macau East Asian Games Dome. It was a rousing start to the inaugural edition of this special invitational event, with crowds arriving to witness some of the world’s best players putting on a show.
The event officially commenced at 2pm with a short and sweet mixed doubles exhibition encounter between Team Europe, comprising Daria Kasatkina and Croatia’s Borna Coric, up against a Team China made up of Zhang Zhizhen and Wang Xinyu.
Consisting only of a 10-point super tie-breaker, the match was exciting from the get-go as a number of quick reaction shots at the net from Coric helped Team Europe race to a 6-3 lead. Although Team China staged a comeback to the delight of the crowd, with both Zhang and Wang racing forward to kill off loose balls from their opponents and cut the deficit to just one point at 8-7, it was a case of too little, too late as the European duo closed out the match at 10-7.
“I’m feeling great after this win. Borna was playing really well and he helped me a lot. I wasn’t really sure of what I should be doing but Borna went full power so I let him take control,” said a smiling Kasatkina after the match, who is playing her first doubles match since 2012.
Next up, the two men stayed on court to face off in the first of the men’s semifinals. Coric started the match in better form and raced to a four-nil lead before closing out the first set 6-1. Zhang put up a stronger fight at the start of the second set and held pace with his higher ranked opponent until 4-4. However, he failed to capitalise on his opportunities when it came, allowing Coric to break him to take a 5-4 lead and eventually win the match 6-1, 6-4 in 55 minutes.
“I think I played really good tennis in the first set and maybe he wasn’t at his best. In the second set we both raised our level, especially him, and in the end, it was a very close and good match,” said the 27-year-old world No.37.
In the day’s second semifinal, in-from Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor defeated American Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-1 in 41 minutes to complete a commanding winning debut in Macau. The 27-year-old hit three aces and put on a clinical display in front of an appreciative crowd against a world No.10 that was not at his best.
“I’m happy with today’s performance. I played a good match, definitely. It’s super nice to play in front of the people here in Macau and I hope everybody comes back tomorrow for the final,” said Griekspoor after the win.
The Dutchman has had a breakout season in 2023, reaching three finals and winning his first two career titles at Pune and ‘s-Hertogenbosch respectively. He faces Coric tomorrow in what will be a warmup for their United Cup clash in early January, where Croatia is set to face Netherlands in Group F.
“Borna played really well today as well, so its going to be an interesting final. I am really looking forward to some good tennis again tomorrow,” added Griekspoor.
Aside from the matches, special on-court activities were carried out after each match to entertain the crowd, with the loser of each singles match ‘punished’ with fun challenges, such as trying to hit a tennis ball through a rolling tyre or attempting a Cantonese tongue twister. Meanwhile, the winner of each match played a point on court with a lucky fan chosen from the audience, giving fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live their tennis dreams.
Tomorrow’s schedule will begin with the women’s singles encounter between Wang and Kasatkina, which is slated to start at 2pm. Fans of Fritz and Zhang will be pleased to learn that the two players will once again return to court tomorrow, as they face off in a third-place playoff match that will be contested after the women’s singles. The singles final between Coric and Griekspoor will close out the day’s matches, and will be followed by the awards presentation ceremony.
A special autograph session with Zhang will also be held at the Macau East Asian Games Dome from 1.30pm onwards.
Co-organised by MGM and IMG, the “2023 MGM Macau Tennis Masters” is honoured to have the support of the Publicity and Culture Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao S.A.R., the Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government, the Macao Government Tourism Office and the Macau Tennis Association.
The event is further supported by esteemed partners, including FILA as the official outfitter, Bonaqua as the official water sponsor, and official trophy sponsor, Lalique.
Tickets are available online through www.MGM.mo from MOP$320 to MOP$880.