28 Nov 2017

Life on the knife-edge; in their opening contest in the Boys’ Team event at the 2017 ITTF World Junior Championships in Riva del Garda, when facing Korea, on more than one occasion Romania had been on the very brink of defeat, Rares Sipos recovered time and again to beat Basek Hogyn.

Later in the day, on Monday 27th November, a similar scenario was repeated; this time the Romanian to perform the great escape was Cristian Pletea.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Romania faced Sweden in the contest to decide the final order in the group.

Earlier in the day Sweden, the no.10 seeds, had suffered a three-one defeat at the hands of Korea, the no.3 seeds; however, in the immediate ensuing contest Korea had experienced a somewhat surprise three-two defeat at the hands of Romania, the no.6 seeds.

Thus if Sweden was to progress, they would need to beat Romania by three games to one or better; if that scenario occurred then on match ratio Sweden would gain second place behind Korea and progress to the quarter-finals.

It so nearly happened. Martin Friis was beaten by Cristian Pletea in the opening contest (11-5, 11-8, 11-9) but then Truls Moregard accounted for Rares Sipos (12-14, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3) and Simon Soderlund beat Dragos Florin Oprea (11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 11-3). Truls Moregard returned to the table and in the vital deciding fifth game against Cristian Pletea, he held two match points at 10-8, two points to seal a Swedish last eight place.

Tense, he lost the next four points, Swedish hopes of a quarter-final place were quashed (11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 7-11, 12-10).

“I had two serves I lost both of them; I was down 8-10, he was serving. I lose and we were out, I’d lost to him recently at the European Youth Olympic Games Qualification Tournament my head was all over the place. I made two good receives of service; then he made mistake, he made very few, I made many.” Cristian Pletea

The decision made, Martin Friis fought bravely against Rares Sipos when all was lost but there was to be no consolation, the Romanian prevailed in four games (17-15, 9-11, 11-3, 11-3); top place in the group was in the hands of Romania, for Korea it was runners up spot and a quarter-final place. Sweden now plays for 9th to 12th place.

World Junior Championships 2017 World Junior Championships Cristian Pletea

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Day 8 - 2017 World Junior Table Tennis Championships