Venus arrives, ready for Sharapova showdown
Chiang Mai _ World number nine Venus Williams arrived in Chiang Mai yesterday and declared she is looking forward to her exhibition match against Maria Sharapova today.
American Williams started practising right away in the searing heat on the centre court of Chiang Mai's 700 Year Stadium to prepare for the TAT Tennis Invitation 2005 match.
Venus, who arrived with her mother for her first visit to the Kingdom, said she was extremely pleased to be in Thailand.
``I heard from many people that Chiang Mai is a very beautiful city and I hope to go sightseeing,'' she said. ``I am happy to be here.''
Venus is staying at Mandarin Oriental Darathewee hotel while in Chiang Mai.
Russian Sharapova, who is ranked fourth in the world, visited Hua Hin yesterday to promote tourism before travelling on to Chiang Mai.
Sharapova will play Williams in a two-set match today at 3pm, in a game which will be shown live on Channel 7 and Star Sports.
It will be followed by a one-set doubles match featuring Sharapova and Tamarine Tanasugarn against Williams and Suchanan Viratprasert.