Sharapova to take on Turkish tennis star at Istanbul event


Istanbul will host a clash between Turkish tennis sensation Çağla Büyükakçay and Russia's Maria Sharapova on Sunday at the TEB BNP Paribas Tennis Stars Series

Rising star of Turkish women's tennis, Çağla Büyükakçay will face Russian great, Maria Sharapova in the TEB BNP Paribas Tennis Stars Series at Istanbul's Sinan Erdem Sports Hall Sunday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency ahead of the one-off event, Büyükakçay said: "Certainly, I am very excited to compete against a world star in front of a home crowd. It will have a very good atmosphere, I believe."

"The event will be a feast for tennis fans."

She added that day by day tennis is becoming more popular in Turkey and it was "awesome" that such events were being held in Turkey.

"I am happy to be a part of this. I can promise that it will be a pleasant game," she said.

Turkish Tennis Federation President Durmuş said after tennis players like Roger Federer, Serena and Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka, competed in Istanbul Cup and the WTA finals in Turkey, Sharapova is the latest star to come and compete in Turkey.

"She is very popular among Turkish fans. To see her play in Istanbul will be great motivation for our young tennis players," Durmuş said.

Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova was handed a 15-month ban last year for doping. Coming out of the ban, she won Tianjin Open in China this season.

Büyükakçay, 28, became the first-ever Women's Tennis Association (WTA) title winner in Turkish tennis history.

She was also the first Turkish woman tennis player to break into the WTA singles Top 100, reaching a career-high (82) last year.

Büyükakçay became the first Turkish female player to compete in the Olympics when she was qualified for Rio 2016 Olympics. She kicked off her pro career in 2004 and won her first doubles title in 2006.

In her last match, she clinched a victory over U.S.-rival Victoria Duval at the Waco tennis tournament's Round 32 on Nov. 8.

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