Pam Shriver, who will stage her 23rd annual Charity Tennis Classic here Nov. 21, has been going through records with her staff, trying to determine whether there has ever been such a star-studded cast assembled for the main match at this event.
"We've had players who have been top-five and better players," said Shriver, who will announce today that Olympic gold medalist and world No. 4 Elena Dementieva has agreed to play U.S. Open winner and world No. 1 Serena Williams in the 7 p.m. match at 1st Mariner Arena. "But to the best of our knowledge, we've never had two current top-five players here.
"I feel it's our best match between two current top players, and I don't think either one of them will be giving a lot away."
The Russian-born Dementieva, who has two 2008 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour titles, is 46-13 this year, including close losses in the Wimbledon and U.S. Open semifinals. Dementieva's decision to come to Baltimore was made easier because she spends her offseason in Buffalo, N.Y., with boyfriend Maxim Afinogenov, who plays right wing for the NHL's Sabres, Shriver said.
Williams, who with her sister Venus won the women's doubles gold medal in Beijing, agreed to play here after the U.S. Open, where she reclaimed the No. 1 ranking.
"Everything Dementieva does is pretty serious," Shriver said. "But she has a trademark scream. I hope she'll unleash one or two of those during the evening. But this is the only night that we have top tennis in Baltimore, and I know the fans want to see these players play at their best."
The event benefits children's charities with the Baltimore Community Foundation. For tickets, go to Ticketmaster outlets or call Ticketmaster phone charge at 410-547-7328.