by Ian Marshall, Editor
Viktoria Pavlovich has very much set the standard for Belarus for the past two decades; most certainly throughout the present century. In addition to her win in Olomouc, she also succeeded on home soil in Minsk in 2008, whilst being crowned European champion in 2010 in Ostrava and two years later in Herning.
Now one of the most experienced players on the international scene, the backspin play from the backhand over the years as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar; it is from her efforts that younger players from Belarus can learn and one 19 year appears to have learned.
Most certainly Daria Trigolos has learned how to combat players of a similar style to Viktoria Pavlovich; those who reliable defensive skills have broken many a heart. In Olomouc, the teenager provided the performance of the round; she beat Ukraine’s Tetyana Bilenko in five games (12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4).
The win was as status advised, on the current Women’s World Rankings, Daria Trigolos is listed at no.99, Tetyana Bilenko at no.104 but you need a certain maturity to play against the consistent backspin play exerted by a player who, like Viktoria Pavlovich, was once a European champion.
Now 20 years ago, in 1998 in Norcia, known by her maiden name of Tetyana Sorochynska, she won the Cadet Girls’ Singles title at the European Youth Championships; the same year as Germany’s Timo Boll secured the Junior Boys’ Singles title and Austria’s Liu Jia, the winner of the Women’s Singles title at the first ever ITTF World Tour Czech Open in 2012, was crowned Junior Girls’ Singles champion.
Defeat for one former winner in Ostrava in the third preliminary round; for another there was success but hard fought success. Crowned champion in 2016, Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin eventually overcame Singapore’s Zeng Jian in seven games (11-4, 7-11, 10-12, 11-7, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6).
Somewhat differently for another former European champion, there was defeat; Sweden’s Li Fen, the winner in Schwechat in 2013 was beaten by Japan’s Maki Shiomi (11-13, 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9).
The fourth preliminary round, to be played later in the day will conclude the qualification procedure.