by Simon Daish
Romanian partnerships have enjoyed success in the Girls’ Doubles category on previous occasions with four bronze medals having gone to the country’s pairings at past World Junior Championships, with the most recent silverware coming from the combination of Bernadette Szocs and Irina Ciobanu at the 2012 Championships in Hyderabad, India.
However, not once in the 13-year history of the event has any pairing from Romania reached the Girls’ Doubles final until now after Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman guaranteed a personal best finish for the country with their semi-finals victory over Hong Kong’s Liu Qi and Wong Chin Yau.
On paper the No.4 seeds Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman were the favourites to win the semi-final tie with Liu Qi and Wong Chin Yau seeded 12 places below the Romanian duo, but in a topsy-turvy match there was little clarity early on as to who would eventually come out on top.
The winning pair would be the team to claim four out of the seven games on offer and after the conclusion of the opening four ends nothing could separate the two partnerships, so when Liu Qi and Wong Chin Yau managed to pull the fifth game in their favour the momentum shifted to the Hong Kong pair to gain an advantage over their opponents. But history would be made for the European players as Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman stole the next two ends to book their spot in the final (14-16, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 13-11, 11-8).
“It’s amazing, we have never played a final at the World Junior Championships before. It’s our first time, and our first medal in doubles. We are very happy and very proud of ourselves, I can’t describe the feeling right now” – Adina Diaconu (Romania).
Next up for Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman is a tricky encounter with the second seeds Hina Hayata and Miyu Kato.
The Japanese pairing of Hina Hayata and Miyu Kato put in a strong showing against Hong Kong’s Mak Tze Wing and Soo Wai Yam Minnie (11-7, 11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4) to keep their place in the Girls’ Doubles competition.