by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
On the evening of Tuesday 14th November Adriana Diaz eventually beat Korea’s Lee Zion in seven games (6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 15-13, 6-11, 7-11, 12-10).
In the decisive seventh game against Lee Zion, playing in a positive manner Adriana Diaz established a 10-7 lead. Continuing in the same fashion trying to play strongly from the backhand, attempting to play down the line but stretching for the ball somewhat, the efforts flew long.
Lee Zion levelled matters but the 17 year old Puerto Rican, now well attuned to the rigours of international play, kept her composure. The next two points and a place in the preliminary round was secured.
“She’s a tough player and it’s always close, we played earlier this year in Belarus and I won four-two. She is fast and consistent; she is strong from the forehand and safe from the backhand, she has good services.” Adriana Diaz
Also, I would suggest Lee Zion is making notable progress; at last week’s Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open, she reached the quarter-final stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, losing narrowly to Japan’s Miyu Maeda.
One wondered not playing expansively but safely against Adriana Diaz, she might perform a recovery of note; she didn’t achieve the task but she can mightily close.
There is a saying that you should not annoy a player of high quality; seems quite unintentionally that is what Lee Zion did!
“I was really angry with myself when the last game went to 10-all; I hated it but I tried to erase it from my mind. I said to myself start again, start again from zero-zero and win the next two points.” Adriana Diaz
Success for Adriana Diaz, listed at no.71 on the current Women’s World Rankings, as opposed to Lee Zion, at the moment with no global status. However, there was one result in the opposite direction as the initial phase concluded.
China’s Li Jiayi, very much new to the international scene, accounted for Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam, named at no. 59; she recovered from a two games to nil deficit to record a six games win (9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6, 14-12) and like Adriana Diaz secured first position in the group and a place in the preliminary round.