[December 3, 2023, Macau] The “2023 MGM Macau Tennis Masters” came to an exciting close today with riveting matches from some of the world’s best tennis players entertaining crowds here at the Macau East Asian Games Done.
Holland’s Tallon Griekspoor, fresh off a breakout season where he reached three finals and picked up his first two career titles, continued his fine form in Macau with a commanding 6-3, 6-4 win over Croatia’s Borna Coric in 61 minutes to emerge as the champion of this inaugural exhibition event.
The in-form 27-year-old Dutchman, currently ranked at No.23, was imperious on serve and did not lose a single service game this weekend, saving the solitary break point he faced today and converting two out of the four he created, one in each set, to complete his winning debut.
As it was the last match of the event, both men put on a show for the crowd that had stayed back, attempting a greater variety of drop shots, overhead lobs and unexpected returns to entertain spectators.
“Whether it is an exhibition or not, you always try your best to win. But it is a little bit easier to play as there is less stress and pressure, and you can try new and different things. I like it and it’s a lot of fun. I hope everybody enjoyed it. Thank you for coming out – I have had an amazing time here in Macau. If you guys want me to come back, I will come back!” said a beaming Griekspoor on court after his win.
Earlier in the afternoon, American world No.10 Taylor Fritz and China’s Zhang Zhizhen took to court for their battle for third place. Playing in front of his home crowd, the plucky world No. 58 put on an impressive display to oust his higher ranked opponent 6-3, 7-6 (1) in 67 minutes, hitting a remarkable 10 aces along the way.
“It was not an easy match against Taylor. My performance was only average in the previous match so I am happy to have redeemed myself today. Taylor has a very strong serve so that motivated me to serve well and play my best. I’m surprised to see so many tennis fans here in Macau, and I appreciate everyone who came out to support me,” said the 27-year-old Shanghai native.
While this may be an exhibition match, it is notably Zhang’s second victory over Fritz this year. The Chinese number one rallied from a set down to defeat the American in their only previous encounter at the 2023 Madrid Masters.
The first match of the day was a women’s singles showdown between Daria Kasatkina and Wang Xinyu. The duo had only faced each other once before, with Wang recording a straight sets victory during their Round of 32 clash at the China Open in October this year. This time, however, it was the 26-year-old Kasatkina who prevailed, winning 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and nine minutes.
Despite struggling with her serve in the first set, in which she notched five double faults, the world No. 18 improved her performance in the second set, hitting two aces and showcasing some fine form to overcome her Chinese world No.36 opponent in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
“I was practicing outdoors before coming here so I took some time to get used to the conditions. There was also some pressure playing against a Chinese opponent in front of her home crowd, so it was tough. Then I realised I did not want to do the loser’s TikTok challenge, so I stepped up my game,” joked Kasatkina after the match, referencing the challenges that all match losers have to perform here at the “2023 MGM Macau Tennis Masters”.
The former world No. 8 and six-time WTA Tour title winner paid tribute to the crowd that came out to support the event: “The crowd was great and very respectful, so thank you for coming! I’m glad to see that Macau is investing to make the sport more popular here. It’s my first time here in Macau and everything has been great. I really like this place and I’m very happy to see more and more people engaging with the sport.”
Following the day’s matches, event organisers held a special after party at the MGM Mansion to thank all the players and their teams for supporting the event.
The “2023 MGM Macau Tennis Masters” is slated to return next year for the second edition to continuous highlight the appeal of the cross-sector integration of “Tourism + Sports”, which also helped to further elevate Macau as a world-class destination of elite sports events.
Co-organised by MGM and IMG, the “2023 MGM Macau Tennis Masters” is honoured to have the support of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR, Sports Bureau, Macau Government Tourism Office and 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.