Diriyah Tennis Cup draw serves up mouth-watering quarterfinal clashes


RIYADH — The draw for the opening day of the Diriyah Tennis Cup, presented by Saudi Aramco, has served-up a mouth-watering set of quarterfinals for Saudi Arabia’s first-ever international tennis event.

World No. 12 Fabio Fognini (Italy) and big-serving John Isner (USA) officially open the tournament in an exciting opening quarterfinal clash starting at 4 p.m. at the Diriyah Arena, followed by three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) who takes on flamboyant world No. 10 Gaël Monfils (France).

The third quarterfinal will see top seed and world No. 5 Danil Medvedev (Russia) face-off against German No. 2 Jan-Lennard Struff with the opening day’s final quarterfinal 2019 Australian Open semifinalist Lucas Pouille (France) facing world No. 11, David Goffin (Belgium).

The draw, conducted by the players alongside Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA), was made on Wednesday from the stunning Diriyah Arena.

Prince Abdulaziz officially opened the Tennis venue by performing the first serve in the 15,000-seater venue. The Diriyah Arena took just two months to build with a footprint of 10,000 sq m and has been incredibly transformed in just three days following last weekend’s historic ‘Clash on the Dunes’ heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz.

Prince Abdulaziz said: “I am personally so excited to welcome an amazing line-up of some of the very best tennis players on the planet to Saudi Arabia. Tennis joins a spectacular season of world-class sport, entertainment, music and culture to Diriyah.

“Last weekend was a momentous occasion as we hosted a world heavyweight title fight in this extraordinary and unique Arena. And we’re now set to make more history over the coming days. Hosting top tier international tennis in Saudi Arabia for the very first time is another momentous sporting occasion for Saudi Arabia.

“The Diriyah Tennis Cup can inspire new players and new fans in Saudi Arabia — male, female, old or young. Our goal is to have our people engaged in tennis, inspired by tennis, taking part in tennis and connected as a nation by the sport.”

As well as the eight multi-ATP Tour title winning superstar names competing, the Diriyah Tennis Cup will also witness rising stars of tennis challenge each other in a one-off Saudi special exhibition match.

Riyadh-born Michael Mmoh and Saudi national star Ammar Al Haqbani – both 21 – will compete in front of an eager home crowd ahead of the final match on Saturday, as a precursor to the tournament’s finale.

All ticket holders for the Diriyah Tennis Cup will also be able to attend weekend concerts featuring global superstars Calvin Harris and Major Lazer (Dec. 13) world renowned DJs Swedish House Mafia (Dec. 14). — SG