HUA HIN : World No.1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus is looking forward to beating China's Li Na in an exhibition match today and hopes history repeats itself.
Victoria Azarenka offers alms to monks on the beach at the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort yesterday.
Azarenka defeated Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki in Hua Hin last year and went on to win the Australian Open. She followed in the footsteps of Kim Clijsters who won an exhibition match in the resort town and then won in Melbourne.
"I am very happy to be back in Thailand," Azarenka told yesterday's press conference ahead of today's match with world No.7 Li in the Hua Hin World Tennis Invitation.
"I had a wonderful time in Hua Hin last year. I defeated Caroline and became the second player after Kim to win in Hua Hin and then won the Australian Open. This is a good warm-up match before the start of the new tennis season."
In the morning, Azarenka gave alms to monks along with boyfriend US rapper Redfoo.
"I never woke up so early but today was a special day for me to give alms to monks. It was a great experience," she said.
She also received an amulet from a monk.
Li, Asia's top player, arrived in Thailand from Hong Kong yesterday. The Chinese replaced Serena Williams who said at the time that she had a foot injury.
"A few days ago, I watched a Chinese movie which was filmed in Thailand. It's a beautiful country. I am very happy and feel honoured to be here," she said. "I want to go to a spa. I am very excited that I will take part in a fashion show - it's a new challenge for me!"
Azarenka and Li took part in a fashion show "the Orchestra of Thai Silk" along with models at the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort in the evening.
The Hua Hin exhibition will be played at Centennial Park at 5pm. Tickets at 1,500 baht are available at Thai Ticket Major outlets (tel. 02-262-3456 or visit http://www.thaiticketmajor.com) or at the venue.
In Brisbane, Australia, Serena Williams has played down concerns about recent foot surgery as she looks to continue her dominance of the women's game at next week's Brisbane International.
The opening tournament of the Australian summer features eight of the world's top 10 women, with reigning US Open champion Andy Murray headlining the men's draw.
World No.3 Williams, 31, arrived in Brisbane on Friday and immediately played down any worries over the minor foot surgery which forced her to withdraw from the Hua Hin exhibition match.
"It feels great to be back in Brisbane," said Williams. "The foot is better. It is really good - it's come through fine." BANGKOK POST/AFP
Azarenka, fourth left, and Li Na, fourth right, pose with the models during the Orchestra of Thai Silk fashion show.
About the author
- Writer: Tor Chittinand