Katerina Toliou was directly on the main draw of the “64” of the World Table Tennis Feeder in Antalya and in the first round on Wednesday she defeated the Italian Giorgia Picolini, who is more than 100 places higher than her in the international ranking list (No. 78).
In addition, the leading Greek athlete broke a negative tradition against her and, with her appearance, she looks capable of a good placement. Also significant is the fact that with her victory she continues the strong competition tests, as with the difficult draws last month in the two Düsseldorf Feeders she had immediately finished her games.
Now, on Thursday for the “32” she faces the young German Franziska Schreiner.
Toliou (number 192 this week in the world rankings) had learned an opponent before the conclusion of the qualifying groups, as Picolin also avoided that process and was straight on the board.
She didn’t start well in the match and gave Picolin the opportunity to create a difference (9-4) and finally take the lead, but then she noticeably increased her performance. The second set was crucial. The defensive-style international led us 9-5 and accepted the tie, but then forced her opponent into an error first and took the set with an impressive straight hit on a game point.
Picoline generally had fluency in her forehand attacks and good control, after all, she was coming off a three-match winning streak against our champion in major events in recent years. Toliou, however, made it difficult for her with pressing cut balls, while she played the forehand well to confuse her. She followed it up with a few forehand spins and it hit her.
In the deciding fifth set, Toliou made a strong start, playing different balls to Picolin’s forehand. He led 4-1 and the opposing side took a timeout. Totally ready and stable, Toliou increased the gap to +6 (8-2) and reached the final 3-2 set (8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-3) .
Her next opponent was directly on the scoreboard and she eliminated the American Ti Ai Hin with a 3-0 set in “64”. If Toliu prevails, then on “16” she will meet, also on Thursday, the winner of the Mateja Jaeger (Croatia)-Van Ewan (Germany) match.
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