KDB Korea Open boasts 24 of the world’s top 100

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KDB Korea Open boasts 24 of the world’s top 100

Lee So-ra will face second-seeded Maria Kirilenko of Russia in the first round of the KDB Korea Open that kicks off today, according to the organizers yesterday.

Lee, 18, ranked 472nd in the world, is one of the three Korean players who will be competing as wild cards. The others are Han Sung-hee, ranked 260th, and Hong Hyun-hui, ranked 640th.

Since it began in 2004, the KDB Korea Open has grown to be the biggest annual women’s tournament in Korea. A total of 24 players ranked in the world’s top 100, including No. 14 Kirilenko, will compete for a share $500,000 in prize money.

Kirilenko selected her first-round opponent during a drawing yesterday at Olympic Park in Songpa District, eastern Seoul.

Kirilenko is a regular at the tournament and won the title in 2008. If she gets past Lee in the first round, she will face Tamira Paszek of Austria or Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the Round of 16.

No Korean player has ever advanced beyond the first round. Han will face third-seeded Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, ranked 16th, while Hong will meet 77th-ranked Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan.

Six other Korean players failed to get through the preliminaries, including Jun Nam-yeon who lost to Colombia’s Catalina Castano in the final preliminary match yesterday. Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, ranked 11th, will face Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands in the first round, while fourth-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia, ranked 18th, will meet Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino.

The tournament runs through Sunday. Ticket prices range from 20,000 won ($17.9) to 25,000 won today through Friday and from 25,000 won to 42,000 Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased through the Web site (ticket.auction.co.kr) or by calling 1566-1369.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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