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Macao kicks off the Chinese Tennis Association Tour final

By Sun Xiaochen | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-12-05 21:48
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Cheered on by enthusiastic fans in the southern metropolis, the Chinese Tennis Association Tour final swung off into its weeklong action in Macao on Monday, laying the ground for China's future stars to collide at the year-ending tourney.

Launched in 2020 as China's domestic circuit, the CTA Tour is capping off its season in the special administrative region for a second straight year this week. The country's best players - barring those competing on international tours - will battle it out in men's and women's singles and doubles draws to compete for the coveted national titles and shares of the total prize of 2.2 million yuan (about $31,600).

The tournament started with the round-robin phase on Monday at the Macao Tennis Academy, where the domestic top-16 men's and women's aces first compete in each of their four-player group before group winners advance into the best-of-three semifinals. The doubles events feature the same format with the top-8 teams divided into two groups.

The Macao showdown is introducing some of China's up-and-coming talents, such as National Games singles bronze medalist Terigele and this season's opening leg winner Mo Yecong in men's singles, to national spotlight, while celebrating the career twilight of veterans, including former men's national No 1 Zhang Ze and former women's Grand Slam main draw competitor Han Xinyun.

China Central Television is airing the tournament from the round robin stage through the Sunday final session on its sports channel. Macao's major resort operator SJM Holdings will finance the event as official title sponsor.

Having helped the country's young talent develop their games on regular basis, the CTA Tour is progressing on the right track as a steppingstone up to the professional stage, said Liu Wenbin, director of the National Tennis Administrative Center.

"The 2022 season has witnessed major breakthroughs of Chinese tennis especially on the men's side, while the CTA Tour played an instrumental role as facilitator to the rise of Chinese players, such as Wu Yibing and Zhang Zhizhen," Liu said at the final's draw ceremony in Macao on Sunday.

Zhang and Wu, both competitors on the CTA Tour's inaugural season in 2020, have drawn massive international attention on the top-flight ATP Tour this year by significantly improving their world rankings to reach No 101 and 107 respectively this week. They also won nationwide acclaims by fighting into the main draw event at the US Open all the way from qualifiers in September.

"The CTA Tour has overcome various challenges to keep hosting events over the past three years with support from all partners. Hopefully, it will make a greater contribution to the development of tennis in the future," said Liu.

By staging the tour final for a second year in a row, Macao is taking advantage of the exposure and promotion around the tournament to cement its status as a host of high-level sporting events and a safe and fun tourism destination, said Pun Weng-kun, chief of the Macao sports bureau.

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