Taipei, May 26 (CNA) Martina Hingis beat Steffi Graf 7-6 and Andre Agassi overcame Goran Ivanisevic 6-4, 7-6 in fun-filled exhibition matches that drew some 7,000 tennis fans to Taipei Arena on Saturday.
First on court were the ladies, who pumped up the crowd with a mixture of playfulness and intense action.
At one game all, after two nail-biting deuce games, Graf handed her racket to a ball boy -- a strategy Agassi adopted last year in Taipei against Russia's Marat Safin -- and asked him to play a point against Hingis.
Far from getting stage fright, the boy actually caught Hingis, known as the Swiss Miss, off-guard and stole a point for Graf, causing the crowd to erupt into cheers.
In retaliation, the five-time Grand Slam winner immediately handed her racket to a ball girl. Despite a valiant effort, the young girl however failed to take a point off the German star, who is married to Agassi.
"This is my first time in Taipei, and I am sure it will not bethe last time," Graf said after the match.
Andre Agassi and Goran Ivanisevic, meanwhile, lived up to their stellar reputations by producing wide-angle returns and fierce aces.
The playful duo did not miss a single chance to joke around and create a humorous atmosphere.
Agassi, who hails from the U.S., teased the Croatian about his outside balls, while the latter jokingly countered by grumbling andsmashing rackets, in keeping with his trademark bad temper.
At one point in the match, Ivanisevic roared and basked in the crowds' cheers after winning a lengthy rally when he was trailing by one set.
At the end of the match, Agassi thanked the crowd in Chinese and then said:“I love Taiwan.”
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)