Riyadh Season extends partnership with UFC

Riyadh Season extends partnership with UFC
Riyadh Season extends partnership with UFC

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Strong Day 4 showing from World’s Top 10 as Saudi Smash livestream viewership surpasses 2 million globally

JEDDAH: The world’s best players were back in full flow at Saudi Smash 2024 with several top seeds securing statement wins on Tuesday. After some sensational upsets 24 hours prior, the table tennis elite showed their quality and skill on Day 4 of Saudi Arabia’s latest international sporting event – moving within touching distance of the latter stages with some exceptional play and performances.

With the highest-ranked Saudi and Chinese players in action across 29 matches in Jeddah, a wonderful blend of local and international fans watched on as the Men’s Singles round of 32 took centre stage at King Abdullah Sports City. World number 2 Fan Zhendong, French fifth seed Felix Lebrun, Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto (#9), and Germany’s Dang Qiu (#10) all progressed to the last 16 with impressive victories.

A trio of top 10 players also moved within one match of the Women’s Singles quarter-finals. China’s world number 1 and Saudi Smash favorite Sun Yingsha secured passage to the next round alongside her countrywoman Chen Xingtong (#6). Mima Ito (#10) also progressed, setting up a highly anticipated all-Japanese showdown with Miyuu Kihara on Wednesday.

Day 4 came to a close on Table 1 inside the Infinity Arena as hometown heroes Ali Alkhadrawi and Abdulaziz Bu Shulyabi faced off against the Men’s Doubles top seed pairing of Wang Chuqin and Ma Long – the world’s number 1 and 3 ranked players. The Chinese duo progressed to the quarter-finals following a high-quality clash.

Despite falling short against the Men’s Doubles favourites, Ali Alkdahrawi – the Kingdom’s highest-ranked player – was full of optimism ahead of Saudi Smash 2025 and beyond. He said: “Playing against the world’s best pairing is invaluable experience for both of us and the occasion was all the more special because of our home supporters. We’re blessed and fortunate to have received the best support possible in this event. We really enjoyed today’s match and went into it with high confidence. It stands us in good stead as we look to continue our development and we can’t wait to return for next year’s second edition.”

Organised by the Saudi Table Tennis Federation (STTF) and World Table Tennis (WTT) in collaboration with the Ministry of Sport, Saudi Smash is the newest WTT Grand Smash event and one of three major tournaments in the WTT Series Calendar.

Since Saudi Arabia’s first officially sanctioned table tennis event started, its influence and impact have been felt around the globe with accumulated livestream views on WTT channels surpassing two million. Over 260,000 hours of Saudi Smash action have also been watched across livestream and livestream replays – where impressions have also exceeded 10 million.

Running until May 11, Saudi Smash combines the precision and skill of the world’s best table tennis players with the dynamic and entertaining experience of a WTT Grand Smash with 240 of the world’s best men, women, and doubles athletes from 55 countries competing.

The Saudi Smash joins an incredible year-round schedule of international sports in Saudi Arabia and is a part of the Kingdom’s investment in sport, which aims to inspire its people to enjoy active and healthy lives as part of the country’s Vision 2030 cultural transformation.

Tickets to Saudi Smash are on sale here.

For the complete player list, visit here.

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