Spaniard Maria Xiao secured her place at this year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after coming out on top in a seven-game thriller at the International Table Tennis Federation European Olympic Singles Qualification Tournament.
Xiao established a commanding 3-1 lead, needing just one game to cross the line only for Slovakian second seed Barbora Balazova to battle back in Guimarães in Portugal.
Balaoza registered back-to-back games to send the match into a decider.
All the momentum appeared to be with Balazova, but Xiao responded to claim a memorable 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 4-11, 5-11, 11-6 victory.
Russia’s third seed Yana Noskova also punched her ticket for Tokyo 2020 with a battling win over Bulgaria’s Polina Trifonova in the other semi-final.
Noskova was seeded 34 positions higher than Trifonova, but the Bulgarian pushed her all the way as she came from two games down to level.
The Russian proved too strong as she completed a 11-4, 12-10, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9 triumph.
In the men’s competition, 33rd seed Panagiotis Gionis will represent Greece at the Olympics after overcoming Pavel Sirucek of Czech Republic with a 6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7 success.
Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu will join Gionis at the Games after beating Britain’s Paul Drinkhall 11-3, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10, 11-8.