Tiafoe Opens 2024 Season With Win In Hong Kong

Frances Tiafoe (photo: Tennis Photo Network)

HONG KONG, January 3, 2024 (Press Release)

The stars of the Bank of China Hong Kong Tennis Open 2024 shone on Centre Court Wednesday as some of the top seeds in the first ATP Tour tournament in Hong Kong in over 20 years captivated the audience at the Victoria Park Tennis Stadium.  

In his Hong Kong debut, tournament third seed Frances Tiafoe beat Miomir Kecmanovic, 6-3, 7-6(4).  

“First match of the season, new coach and everything, and tough preparation. Jerry played a marathon match in the afternoon, so warming up four or five times today, and end up playing a night match rather than a day match, so it was tough, but I did a great job and played great tennis against a great opponent and an even better guy, so I’m happy with the performance I had today,” said the World No.16 after opening his 2024 season with an impressive win and stretching his career record over Kecmanovic to 4-0.

After Tiafoe’s triumph, the first top seeded star was toppled as World No. 15 and tournament second seed Karen Khachanov fell to World No. 69 Emil Ruusuvuori, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2.  

It was the first win for the Finn against Khachanov, and saw him through to his 12th ATP quarterfinal.  In the first round Ruusuvuori beat Benjamin Bonzi 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-1. 

It was a difficult win over a very difficult opponent. Two wins out of two to start the season, it shows I have the level to do it I just need to keep working hard,” he said after the match. 

Earlier in the day, China’s tennis phenomenon Shang Juncheng outlasted Botic Van De Zandschulp from the Netherlands in a second straight marathon match for the 18-year old, winning 6(5)-7, 7-6(2), 7-6(2) after three and a half hours.  

Backed by massive support from the Hong Kong fans, Shang, the youngest player in the draw, claimed the most momentous win of his career when he beat World No. 33 Laslo Djere to open the season and open the year on 1 January.  

His luck, and endurance, held firm against the experienced Dutchman, World No. 50, as the youngster now advances to his first ever ATP Quarterfinal.

After the match, Shang said, “It was pretty hard to lose focus with this amazing crowd, so I could keep it all together. Overall, a rollercoaster match, three hours and almost 30 minutes. On court, I was feeling very fit. I have a great team over there and did the pre-season with them, and I think it’s amazing.”

Shang also looked ahead to his next round opponent Tiafoe.

“One of them I know really well. I practiced with Frances, I have played him twice, both of them didn’t go my way, but hopefully I can get a chance to play him again and get the  revenge. You guys [the crowd] were absolutely amazing. I can say nothing but thank you guys for coming out to watch. See you all in the next Round!”

Court One saw some thrilling doubles action today as Great Britain’s Julian Cash and USA’s Robert Galloway beat the French pair of Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul 6(5)-7, 7-5, 11-9. Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Mate Pavic of Croatia beat the Argentine duo of Pedro Cachin and Francisco Cerundolo 6-2, 6-2.  Botic Van de Zandschulp recovered nicely from his drawn out affair with Shang earlier to pair Mackenzie McDonald in a straight sets win over Roman Andres Burruchaga and Shintaro Mochizuki, 6-4, 6-1.

The excitement mounts even further with tomorrow’s match action seeing the singles debut of tournament top seed and World No. 5 Andrey Rublev who plays Great Britain’s Liam Broady on Centre Court on Thursday evening.