27 Nov 2017

The fourth seeds, Romania secured first place in their second stage group in the Girls’ Team event at the 2017 ITTF World Junior Championships in Riva del Garda on the afternoon of Monday 27th November; thus a quarter-final place was secured.

It was an outcome to be expected but it almost didn’t happen, the nation owing a debt of gratitude to Adina Diaconu, she remained the one unbeaten member of the team.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Against the Czech Republic in the opening fixture of the day, she accounted for both Stanislava Slezakova (11-5, 11-8, 11-7) and Zdena Blaskova (11-6, 11-5, 11-7).

Vitally both wins came when the Romanians were one match in arrears; in the opening encounter of the contest Andreea Dragoman had lost to Zdena Blaskova (11-8, 11-9, 12-10); in the third match of the engagement, Tania Plaian had experienced defeat at the hands of Katerina Cechova (12-10, 11-6, 11-3).

“The first match because it is the first match I didn’t play so well; it’s always difficult and always close until you get a feeling for the ball. In the second match we were down two-one; I knew I needed to make a good start, Zdena had nothing lose.” Adina Diaconu

Success for Adina Diaconu against Zdena Blaskova meant the hopes of Romania rested on the shoulders of Andreea Dragoman. She duly delivered, she beat Stanislava Slezakova in straight games (11-3, 12-10, 11-9).

Hard fought success against the Czech Republic, it was the same against Chinese Taipei; the opening exchanges suggesting that a Chinese Taipei victory was in the offing.

Adina Diaconu lost the first two games against Lee Yu-Peng, a very athletic forehand orientated player, before securing the next three (8-11, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-2). In the next contest Andreea Dragoman trailed by two games to one, prior to securing victory (9-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5), before Romania experienced a set back. Tania Plaian suffered against the defensive skills of Tsai Yu-Chin (11-2, 7-22, 11-6, 11-8).

Now ever more confident Adina Diaconu returned to the fray; she sealed the victory in style, she beat Su Pei-Ling in three straight games (11-9, 11-7, 11-2).

“I kept missing her service against Lee Yu-Peng, from the third game onwards I served short, sometimes backspin, sometimes no spin. She played with a lot of top spin, especially from the forehand; gradually I was able to control the play.” Adina Diaconu

“I was not so good this morning in my first match; I was happy today playing backhand to backhand. In the match against Chinese Taipei I needed to keep changing the direction of the play from my backhand. Andree Dragoman

“I broke the little finger of my playing hand a few weeks ago, so I’ve not been able to practise a great deal in recent weeks; everybody here is of a good level, today my focus was not good. Tania Plaian

Watching the match, the fourth member of the squad, Elena Zaharia, only 13 years old and two days earlier the winner of the Cadet Girls’ Singles event sat the 2017 Portugal Junior and Cadet Open.

“It’s very good here but I’d rather be playing than watching, when you are watching you go through so many emotions.” Elena Zaharia

Chinese Taipei new meets the Czech Republic to decide second place, a quarter-final place awaits the winners.

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