by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Cristian Pletea and Rares Sipos occupy the top spots in the Junior Boys’ Singles competition; whilst in the counterpart Junior Girls’ Singles event, Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman are the leading names.
Notably, Cristian Pletea has already enjoyed success this year; he won the Under 21 Men’s Singles title at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open in Minsk.
Similarly in January, Adina Diaconu impressed at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open in Budapest; she progressed to the semi-final stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event. It was a round she also reached some six weeks earlier in the Girls’ Singles event at the Sun International 2016 World Junior Championships in Cape Town.
Also, in January, Andreea Dragoman excelled; she advanced to the last four of the Girls’ Singles competition at the World Junior Circuit Finals in Indore.
Similarly, Rares Sipos has proved a most worthy adversary; in Budapest, he was an Under 21 Men’s Singles quarter-finalist.
The nearest challengers to the Romanians in the Junior Boys’ Singles event are Portugal’s José Pedro Francisco and Vitor Amorim; both have been on duty this year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit competing in the Czech Republic, France and Italy but both have yet to make their mark. Neither has progressed beyond the early stages.
However, for the girls, it is somewhat different. Belgium’s Lisa Lung, is the third named player in the order of merit followed by Italy’s Jamila Laurenti.
At the European Under 21 Championships, staged in Sochi in early February, Lisa Lung reached the semi-final round of the Women’s Singles event; at the more recent Italian Junior and Cadet Open in Lignano, competing on home soil, Jamila Laurenti was the Cadet Girls’ Singles runner up.
Proceedings commence with the team events.