Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Galia Dvorak Maintains Spanish Pride on Opening Day in Almeria
Former European Youth champion, Galia Dvorak, maintained Spanish pride in the Palacio de Los Juegos Mediterraneos in Almeria on Wednesday 6th April 2011, by emerging unbeaten on her two visits to the table in the qualification stage of the Women’s Singles event.

She opened her account with victory over Hong Kong’s Li Ching Wan (11-4, 3-11, 12-10, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5) and concluded her day’s work with success against Korea’s Jo Yu Jin.

Confident and with home support, Galia Dvorak posted a straight games win (11-7, 11-7, 13-11, 11-8).
Galia Dvorak in form on the first day of play at the Spanish Open
Hopes Remain Alive
One more match remains in the group for each player with Galia Dvorak facing Denmark’s Mie Jacobsen; victory over the Dane, who on the opening day, lost to both Li Ching Wan and Jo Yu Jin, will secure first place in the group.

Defeats at the hands of the Spaniard for Li Ching Wan and Jo Yu Jin but hopes remain alive; the top two players from each group progress to the main draw.

Therefore, the contest between Li Ching Wan and Jo Yu Jin will no doubt determine who progresses to the second stage with Galia Dvorak.

Possible Main Draw Spanish Places
Similarly, Galia Dvorak may not be the only Spaniard who joins Zhu Fang and Sara Ramirez in the main draw; the latter two both the recipients of a direct entry.

The hopes of Marta de la Vega and Anna Badosa remain alive.

Marta de la Vega, after losing to Hong Kong’s Guan Meng Yuan (11-1, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8) overcame Naomi Owen of Wales (12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-3, 11-8); whilst Anna Badosa suffered defeat in her opening contest against Romania’s Camelia Postoaca (11-9, 10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6) but used her backspin defensive skills to good effect to defeat Portugal’s Leila Oliviera (11-7, 12-10, 11-2, 11-7).

Tough Tasks Await
However, for Marta del Vega a tough task awaits; she plays the hitherto unbeaten Matilda Ekholm of Sweden, whilst for Anna Badosa there is an equally testing task.

She confronts England’s Kelly Sibley, no mean player against defence; in the final of the English National Championships in early March, Kelly Sibley beat Joanna Parker, a defender, in the final.

Meanwhile, amongst the highest world ranked players on duty in the qualification stage of the Women’s Singles event, Korea’s Park Young Sook, Serbia’s Ana-Maria Erdelji and Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam all remained unbeaten; whilst, after losing to Poland’s Antonina Szymanska in her opening match, Denmark’s Mie Skov, the second highest world ranked player on duty, beat Mexico’s Yadira Silva (15-13, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9).

In Form Korean Awaits
However, for Mie Skov, the second highest world ranked player in action on the first day of proceedings in the Women’s Singles event, a tough task awaits.

She faces Korea’s Lee Hye Lin who was in impressive form on day one; she beat Yadira Silva (9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 12-10) before accounting for Antonina Szymanska (12-10, 9-11, 12-10, 16-14, 11-6).

Hopes remain alive for the host nation’s Marta del Vega

Photo by Pablo Rubio