The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club will play host to the Hong Kong Tennis Champions Cup 2018 from December 8-9. This year’s field is the strongest in the history of the tournament featuring two former Grand Slam winners and with six out of the ten competitors ranked inside the ATP top 75.
Total prize money has also doubled to HK$480,000, with the winning pair taking home a handsome HK$200,000 and the runners-up HK$110,000.
「Our tournament has gone from strength to strength over the years and we are now able to attract some of the world’s top doubles players. We want to give local tennis fans and our aspiring players the chance to see men’s doubles at the highest level up close and personal. It’s certainly a unique experience because it’s not something they get to see often,」 said Tournament Director, Lam Siu Wai.
「I’m very excited to play again in the tournament for the third time, especially with the level of competition they brought in this year. There are players I’ve seen in my college days, some I saw at the Asian Games, and some that I’ve always wanted to meet. It’s going to be a fun weekend, hopefully jack and I can play our best and bring out some good tennis for the crowd,」 said Brian Yeung, who just captured the last two local majors at SCAA and CRC.
Another focal point of the Hong Kong Tennis Champions Cup 2018 is of course the pair of former Grand Slam doubles winners, Jonathan Marray from Britain and India’s Rohan Bopanna.
While Marray has captured a slew of Challenger titles in his career, he did not take home his maiden tour level event until he teamed up with Denmark’s Frederik Nielsen to win Wimbledon in 2012. Entering the tournament as a wildcard entry, they beat the much higher favoured No. 5 seed Horia Tecau and Robert Lindstedt in the final. En route to the title, four of their six matches went to a fifth set. In doing so, however, he became first British men’s doubles champion since 1936. He was also a quarterfinalist at the US Open in 2013 and semifinalist at the ATP World Tour Finals in 2012. He also won titles in Chennai and Newport and reached a career-best No. 15 in 2013.
Marray will be teaming up with Aussie Andrew Whittington, who peaked at a career-high No. 74 earlier this year. He was a semifinalist at the Australian Open in 2017 and has won four times on the Challenger circuit thus far.
Bopanna, the 2017 Roland Garros mixed double champion, finished the current season ranked No. 37. It is also the ninth consecutive season he has finished with a top 40 year-end ranking. He was ranked as high as No. 3 in the world and a finalist at the US Open in 2010, semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2013 and 2015, and quarterfinalist at the French Open in 2011, 2016, and 2018. He owns 17 career ATP Tour titles, including four Masters 1000s, winning twice in Paris, Monte Carlo, and Madrid. He also reached the ATP World Tour Finals twice in 2012 and 2015.
Bopanna, the reigning Asian Games men’s doubles champion, will be partnering compatriot Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who finished this season with a career-best year-end ranking of No. 75. Nedunchezhiyan claimed his lone ATP title together with Bopanna at Chennai in 2017.
The in-form player with the highest ranking in the field is Briton Joe Salisbury, who won Vienna and Shenzhen to finish 2018 at a career-best No. 30. He will be joining forces with countryman and world No. 62 Jonny O’Mara. However, they will be up against another formidable pairing featuring 34th-ranked Artem Sitak of New Zealand and 39th-ranked Divij Sharan of India.
Hong Kong Davis Cuppers, Brian Yeung and Jack Wong, will represent local interests in this year’s tournament.
Format of Play
One group of 5 pairs will engage in round-robin play starting on Saturday. First to win four games with a 2-game differential wins the set. In the event of four games all, a 7-point, no-ad tiebreak will ensue. If the match is tied at one set all, a super-tiebreak (first to 10 points with at least a 2-point differential) will decide the winner. The top 4 placed pairs in the group will progress to the knockout stage.
The semifinals and final on Sunday will be two regular tiebreak sets with long deuce. In the event of a match being tied at one set all, a super-tiebreak (first to 10 points with at least a 2-point differential) will decide the winner.