by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
He had been beaten in six games (7-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4); one day later it was a straight games defeat for Adriana Diaz in the second round of the Women’s Singles event. She was beaten by Li Xue of France the no.30 seed (11-1, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8).
A seemingly convincing result but after being all at sea in the opening game, the teenager improved.
“At first I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t understand her game very well but then I changed my strategy in the next games and I began to put the ball on the table and be more focused”, said Adriana Diaz. “I think I will have to travel to a place where I can find these kind of players; now there are many defensive players in the circuit, it’s a part of my game on which I must focus.”
Learning and as the match progressed Adriana Diaz was learning; she made a greater impact as the match progressed.
“She is young”, said Li Xue. “Playing against her I just had to be patient, wait and I knew she would eventually make a mistake, for me it was keep the ball on the table and wait.”
Patient, Li Xue was resolute and determined; furthermore, Li Xue had words of advice for the Puerto Rican.
“She needs to be stronger with her top spin play; today I was able to return her top spins with heavy backspin play”, added Li Xue.
A major problem for Adriana Diaz was she could not penetrate the defensive wall erected by Li Xue.
Watch Li Xiaoxia
Now Korea’s Suh Hyowon and Ukraine’s Tetyana Bilenko are in the same quarter of the draw as China’s Li Xiaoxia; should it happen, Adriana Diaz would well advised to watch how the London 2012 gold medallist deals with those of the defensive art.
The end of the road for Puerto Rico in Rio de Janeiro but with honour at the first attempt; now in Tokyo can there be another first for the Caribbean island?
Representation in the Men’s Team or Women’s Team event, or even both?