Wed, Jan 05, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Russian tennis star in Taiwan to play exhibition matches

Staff writer, with CNA

Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny reacts during the final of the St Petersburg Open on Oct. 31.

PHOTO: REUTERS

World No. 10 Russian tennis star Mikhail Youzhny, who arrived in Taipei on Monday night, trained with Taiwan’s top players yesterday in preparation for two high-profile exhibitions later this week.

The 28-year-old Youzhny, noted for his consistency, was joined by Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun, who ranks 35th in the world, and Jimmy Wang, who has returned to competitive tennis after missing most of the past two years because of a wrist injury.

Youzhny will be part of the Rise of Legends exhibitions on Thursday in Taipei and on Saturday in Kaohsiung that will feature all-time great Andre Agassi and two-time Grand Slam tournament winner Marat Safin.

In both exhibitions, Agassi and Safin will play best-of-three set matches (with the third set to be a super-tiebreaker if necessary), to be preceded by a single set encounter between Youzhny and Lu and followed by a doubles set including Agassi, Safin, Lu and Wang.

The doubles pairings will be drawn by lot.

According to Integration Sports, the event’s promoter, Safin was expected to arrive in Taiwan later yesterday and Agassi to arrive today.

The exhibition will be a pivotal benchmark for promoting major sports events in Taiwan. Tickets to the event range from NT$800 (US$27.46) to NT$10,000 and it remains to be seen if enough tickets will be purchased to defray the NT$80 million it is costing Integration Sports to put on the event.

A successful showing could encourage the promoter to put on other exhibitions or ATP Tour events in the future.

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