‘World-class’ Southeast Asian Games end with rocking closing ceremony

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: The draw for Thursday’s opening day of the Diriyah Tennis Cup, presented by Saudi , has served up a mouth-watering set of quarterfinals for the Kingdom’s first-ever international tennis event.

World No. 12 Fabio Fognini (Italy) and big-serving John Isner (US) officially open the tournament in an exciting opening quarterfinal clash starting at 4 p.m. at the Diriyah Arena.

This will be followed by three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) taking on flamboyant world No. 10 Gael 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.

The opening day’s last quarterfinal will pit 2019 Australian Open semifinalist Lucas Pouille (France) against world No. 11 David Goffin (Belgium).

FASTFACTS

The Diriyah Tennis Cup draw in full:

Quarterfinal 1 (4 p.m.)

Fognini vs. Isner

Quarterfinal 2 (Follows match 1 )

Wawrinka vs. Monfils

Quarterfinal 3 (Not before 8 p.m.)

Medvedev vs. Struff

Quarterfinal 4 (Follows match 3)

Pouille vs. Goffin

The draw, conducted by the players alongside Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi General Sports Authority, took place on Wednesday at the stunning Diriyah Arena.

Prince Abdul Aziz hit the ceremonial first serve to officially open the 15,000-seater tennis venue.

The Diriyah Arena took just two months to build, with a footprint of 10,000 sq. meters. It has been transformed in just three days following last weekend’s historic “Clash on the Dunes” heavyweight boxing title fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.

Prince Abdul Aziz 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.”

He added: “Tennis joins a spectacular season of world-class sport, entertainment, music and culture at 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.”

He said: “Hosting top-tier international tennis in Saudi Arabia for the very first time is another momentous sporting occasion for Saudi Arabia.”

He added: “The Diriyah Tennis Cup can inspire new players and new fans in Saudi — 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 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 a 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 be able to attend concerts featuring global superstars Calvin Harris and Major Lazer on Dec. 13, and world-renowned DJs Swedish House Mafia the day after.

Follow Diriyah Season’s news and announcements on the official social media pages on Twitter and Instagram @diriyahseason.

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