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Sharapova, Williams Cause Sensation in Seoul Exhibition Match

Sharapova, Williams Cause Sensation in Seoul Exhibition Match

Posted September. 20, 2005 06:42,   


Eighteen-year-old Maria Sharapova of Russia, the world’s top-ranked female tennis player, and 25-year-old Venus Williams of the U.S., the world’s No. 7 ranked player, played against each other at the Hyundai Card Supermatch at Olympic Park Stadium No.1 in Bangi-dong, Seoul on Monday.

Fans were excited to see the world-famous tennis stars that they had only seen in the newspaper or on TV. Fans surrounded the stadium in the morning as they arrived early for better seats. The lines extended for as long as 300 meters.

Ninety percent of the tickets were sold by the eve of the match, which was a huge success. Over 10,000 fans were in attendance.

Lee Myung-hwan of Yeungnam University, 24, is a huge tennis fan. He went to Daegu for the Chuseok holidays on Sunday and hurried back to Seoul after the traditional ceremony for his ancestors. He arrived at the stadium at 9:00 a.m., seven hours before the game. Sharapova and Williams have been followed by hordes of fans since they arrived on September 16. They were welcomed at the airport by members of their fan club who hung large posters of the stars, and hundreds of fans bombarded the signing event at a department store on Saturday and the one-point clinic the stars gave on Sunday.

The 188cm-tall Sharapova and the 185cm-tall Williams are both interested in fashion and even engage in clothes designing in their spare time. They attracted attention with their fashion during the visit as well. Sharapova wore a sleeveless shirt that revealed her slim figure, a pair of knee-length pants, and golden sneakers. Williams wore large golden earrings, a pair of tight, pink pants, and a low-cut shirt.

Sharapova said, “I came back to Korea because of the warm affection I received here last year.”

This was the first trip to Korea for Williams, who said she was “excited from the moment I got on the plane.” Williams also looked forward to enjoying Korean cuisine and said, “I’ve heard that Korean food is great. I want to find out.” Williams certainly fell for Korean food. She went to a restaurant in Dogok-dong, Seoul, and put her thumbs up as she had kalbi. She also mixed in some red pepper paste into her bowl of rice and ordered bibimbap before the match.

Sharapova and Williams’ visit was a sensation and added to the joy of the Chuseok holidays.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com