2018-08-01 11:26:00 CEST
Back after two years, the Italian and partner Marta Menegatti downed world ranking leaders Bansley and Wilkerson
Viktoria Orsi Toth has been absent from top-level international competition for the last two years, but on Wednesday it looked like she’s ever been away.
In her return to the Beach Major Series, the Italian blocker and her partner Marta Menegatti had a surprising victory in the first round of the main draw of the A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch.
The 27-year-old blocker, who served two-year a ban for testing positive for a banned substance back in 2016, and her partner took down world ranking leaders Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson of Canada in straight sets (21-16, 21-18) to start on the right foot in Pool C.
“This victory means a lot,” Menegatti said after the game. “They are a very strong team and I think we’ve just put all our concentration and our determination in to the court and tried to do our best and just enjoyed the fact that we were together again. Our strength had been just keeping our minds in the present and having fun.”
The Italians restarted their partnership just one week ago, when they won the gold medal in the World Tour two-star in Agadir, Morroco. The positive performances have been a surprise for Orsi Toth, who didn’t have much contact with beach volleyball for the most part of the time when she was suspended.
“I stopped training at all,” she told us. “I even considered never playing beach volleyball again to be honest. I just resumed training a few months ago and I was trying to enjoy every session because I knew it could end soon. And now, I just keep enjoying every second. This victory means a lot to me, but honestly, I’m just happy to be playing again.”
Orsi Toth’s return also means a fresh start for Menegatti, a two-time Olympian who was struggling during the last couple of years. Playing with Laura Giombini and Rebecca Perry, she won just one medal, a bronze Shepparton, last April, in the previous 19 international events.
Beach Volleyball Major Series on Twitter
What a start to #ViennaMajor for @MartaMene90 and Viktoria Orsi Toth! A win over world number ones @HeatherBansley and @BrandieWilks! Forza Italia! @Federvolley 🇮🇹 https://t.co/O9xtpwwINe
With her most successful partner to date back, she expects the good results come her way again.
“The last years were really hard,” the defender said. “I switched partners twice and my hope was always that she would come back at some point. We started talking about playing together when she returned about a year ago, but it was a long and slow process.”
Menegatti and Orsi Toth will now play Switzerland’s Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli in the afternoon for the first place in Pool C.