Stars Clash in Seoul
By Kim Hyun-cheol
The biggest tennis match ever held in South Korea will take place during ``Chusok,ĄŻĄŻ or Korean Thanksgiving, as Maria Sharapova of Russia and Venus Williams of the United States have an exhibition match in Seoul on Monday.
The match between two of the greatest current female pro athletes will be held in a special court at Olympic Gymnasium, located in Chamsil, southeastern Seoul, with a capacity of 10,000.
This is the second visit for the teenage Sharapova, after winning the title of the first-ever Hansol Open last year. Williams has not visited South Korea so far.
The defending champion Sharapova canĄŻt play at the Hansol Open this year, with the amendment of the World Tennis Association regulations that prohibits top-ranked players from playing at tournaments in lower tiers in case there is a higher-tier tournament held at the same time, which motivated this exhibition match.
Last year, the Hansol Open made great local success, attracting some 30,000 fans with the appearance of the Russian player and resulting in sell-out crowds in every match she played.
Sharapova, currently the world no.1, has a 2-1 edge in their past encounters. However, Venus won their latest showdown in July in the semifinal match at Wimbledon, where the 25-year-old won the title.
Both are scheduled to arrive in South Korea today, and Sharapova will take part in the Beijing Open tournament after the game. The game will be televised live on local broadcaster MBC at 4 p.m.