19 Mar 2019

Staged just under nine months ago in late June in Valls, competing on home soil, the trio formed by Galia Dvorak, Maria Xiao and Zhuang Xuan emerged gold medallists in the women’s team event at the 2018 Mediterranean Games.

They lead the host nation’s challenge for honours in the women’s singles event at the forthcoming Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open, play commencing with the qualification tournament on Wednesday 20th March.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In the women’s singles event Maria Xiao is the no.6 seed, Galia Dvorak, the no.11 seed; Zhang Xuan the no.19 seed.

Experience is very much on the side of Galia Dvorak, now 31 years old, a women’s singles bronze medallist in Valls; she is the one member of the group who possesses ITTF World Tour titles. Winner of the girls’ singles event at the European Youth Championships staged in Budapest in 2004, she secured the under 21 women’s singles titles in 2006 in Warsaw and the following year in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.

Meanwhile, one step lower on the experience ladder, Maria Xiao, 24 years old, has now over a decade of international experience; competing under Portuguese colours, only 12 years old at the time, she was the youngest player on duty at the 2006 World Junior Championships in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo. At last year’s Mediterranean Games, she was a women’s singles quarter-finalist.

Names to note but amongst the trio, is the most significant name to note that of Zhang Xuan?

Recently at the Spanish National Championships she was the dominant player. She emerged the women’s singles winner, secured women’s doubles gold in partnership with Anna Garcia and joined forces with Carlos Caballero to reserve the top step of the mixed doubles podium.

The 19 year old is very much the player in form and there is one further factor to suggest she might just be the name to note. The Spanish National Championships were staged in the same city as will host the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open, the city of Guadalajara.

No doubt Zhang Xuan will feel very much at home.

Challenge Series 2019 Seamaster Spanish Open Galia Dvorak Maria Xiao Zhang Xuan

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Day 3 - Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open