by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
However, that was the only crumb of comfort offered by the in-form Romanian; having topped his group with a series of straight games wins, on the concluding day of action, there was no hint of charity.
At the semi-final stage, he beat Tunisia’s Aboubaker Bourass, the no.6 seed (11-7, 11-4, 11-4, 11-1), before overcoming Portugal’s José Pedro Francisco, the no.3 seed (11-2, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3) to reserve his place at the top table.
Confident, it was a repeat performance of the previous rounds. He accounted for Omar Ammous, the no.7 seed and like Aboubaker Bourass from the host nation (11-7, 11-8, 11-2, 11-4), to claim the top prize.
Imposing, the performance executed by Cristian Pletea rather overshadowed what was a most creditable effort by Omar Ammous. At the quarter-final stage he beat Italy’s Matteo Gualdi, the no.9 seed (12-10, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5), the shock winner one day earlier over Cristian Pletea’s colleague Rares Sipos, the no.2 seed (6-11, 11-8, 11-3, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9), prior to reserving his place in the title decider courtesy of success in opposition, to Portugal’s Vitor Amorin, the no.4 seed (9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 15-13, 11-4).
Success for Cristian Pletea meant that he collected his third Junior Boys’ Singles title on the ITTF World Junior Circuit; in 2015 he made the best possible start to the year. He emerged successful in both the Czech Republic and in Bahrain, the first two tournaments of the year.
Furthermore, in Rades, there were two titles for Cristian Pletea. In partnership with Rares Sipos, the top step of the podium was reserved in the Junior Boys’ Doubles event.
After overcoming Youssef Ben Attia and Aboubaker Bourass at the semi-final stage (11-9, 11-7, 11-9) to end Tunisian hopes, they secured the title at the final expense of Italy’s Matteo Gualdi and John Oyebode (14-12, 13-11, 7-11, 9-11, 11-4). The Italians had reserved their place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to Vitor Amorin and José Pedro Francisco (11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 14-16, 11-9).
A place in the final of the Junior Boys’ Doubles event, it was the same for the Italians in the Cadet Boys’ Singles competition; in what was to prove to closest final of the whole tournament. John Oyebode, the top seed, overcame Matteo Gualdi, the no.2 seed, to claim gold. In a tense contest, he emerged successful by the very narrowest of margins in a full distance five games contest (9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-3, 12-10).
Earlier in the penultimate round, John Oyebode had beaten Tunisia’s Youssef Ben Attia, the no.4 seed (11-7, 11-8, 11-6); John Oyebode had overcome India’s Payas Jain, the no.5 seed (11-6, 7-11, 13-11, 11-4).
The third step of the podium for Payas Jain; in the Mini Cadet Boys’ Singles event, it was the top step; at the final hurdle he overcame colleague, Siyan Ravi Bharadwaj (15-13, 11-6, 12-10) to secure the top prize.