It was an exciting evening of tennis inside the World’s Most Famous Arena on Monday night as fans poured into Madison Square Garden to watch a unique style of play with some of the sport’s biggest names in the first ever Tie Break Tens tournament inside the United States.
The competition featured eight players competing for a $250,000 winner-take-all prize, and in the end it was Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina who came out victorious, defeating China’s Shuai Zhang 10-3 in the final.
“It’s amazing to win the first ever Tie Break Tens tournament in the US,” said Svitolina. “I had a lot of fun out there on the court and it was great to see the crowd get behind the speed and intensity of the game.”
Tie Break Tens pits eight players competing in a knockout format, with each match being a super tiebreaker played to 10 points. Svitolina was the best player from the competition’s start on Monday night, winning 30 of the 36 points she played which included wins over Venus Williams in the opening round, Coco Vandeweghe in the semifinals and Zhang in the final.
“Congratulations to Elina Svitolina on an amazing victory,” said Tie Break Tens CEO Felicity Barnard. “Tonight’s tournament proved to be a thrilling display of elite tennis from some of the world’s greatest female players; a great debut for Tie Break Tens in the United States and hopefully just the start in encouraging a wider audience to get behind the sport.”
In addition to the outstanding tennis, the evening was highlighted by the appearance of Serena Williams, who was playing singles for the first time since the 2017 Australian Open.
Making her way back to the tour after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., Serena won her first match against former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, who was competing in her first match in four years as she makes an attempt at a comeback, Zhang outlasted her 13-11 in an intense semifinal.
Venus said the matches at MSG would be good for Serena, but added that her younger sister knows what she needs to do as she prepares to make her tour return at Indian Wells next week:
“I mean the matches are definitely a good way to know where you are, but obviously she knows how to play,” said Venus. “She’s going to bring that instinct on the court with her, so I don’t think she’s too worried about that.”
Serena Williams talks to her sister, Venus, ahead of Monday night's Tie Break Tens tournament at Madison Square Garden. (Sidney Beal III/Clique Photography)