by Neha Aggarwal
Alexandru Manole overcomes Darko Jorgic
Ranked fifth on the world junior circuit final standings, Alexandru Manole caused the biggest upset in the evening session on day two.
He beat the top seed, ranked sixth in the December 2016 Under 18 Boys’ Singles ranking, Darko Jorgic in six games.
Manole won 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9.
This is his third victory over Jorgic. Manole emerged victorious in the round of 16 in the Junior Boys’ Singles of the Croatian Junior and Cadet Open in 2014 and in the qualifying rounds in Cadet Boys Singles in the 2013 Europe Top 10.
“It was a very hard match. Both of us did not play the best of the game that we play.The conditions are very different here. But even between the two of us, I think I made less mistakes and thus managed to win. That was the key for me” explained Manole.
He continued, “I know that he has a good backhand so I played more on the forehand side. I tried to keep the balls safely on the table and did not play reckless. I was mentally very strong. I was very focused today.”
Now he will face Chinese Taipei’s Lai Chi-Chien in the semi-finals to be played on day three, Friday 28th January 2017 at 11:10am IST. “I feel confident. Yes, semi finals is definitely hard, its a 50-50 game. I will just given in my best, this is the last tournament for me as a junior” Manole signed off on a confident note.
Andreea Dragoman impresses
Both Andreea Dragoman and Amy Wang played a game that caught the attention of the audience present in the stadium. Their quarter final match was contested in full seven games, with the final set stretching up to 14-12 in favor of Andreea.
“I was very focused today because I badly wanted to win. It was very important for me because last year I finished third, so this year, I wanted to at least have the same result or better.”- Andreea Dragoman
“I am strong on backhand. Against Amy, I was trying to serve without spin as she never received short. She plays very quick on the table, specially from the backhand side” explained Andreea.
Andreea recently won the gold medal in the 2016 World Junior Championship held in Cape Town, South Africa in December 2016. She recalls the victory with sparkly eyes, “The world championships medal was unbelievable. I still have no words to describe the feeling. It was one of my best performances ever.”
She started playing at the age of seven and since then table tennis became her passion. “I want to win a gold medal in the World Championships. Daniela Dodean and Li Xiaoxio are my role models.”
Andreea will now play against the top seed from Hong Kong Minnie Soo Wai Yam at 9:30am IST on Saturday, 27th January 2017.
Watch the matches LIVE on ITTF’s YouTube channel.