by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
He was the hero of the hour as Romania caused the biggest upset to date at the 2017 ITTF World Junior Championships in Riva del Garda; on the afternoon of Monday 27th November, the no.6 seeds, they beat Korea, the no.3 seeds, in full distance five engagement laden with drama.
Cristian Pletea gave Romania the ideal start, he beat Baek Hogyun in the opening encounter in three straight games (11-5, 11-6, 11-9).
“We are well prepared for this tournament, we came here seven days ago to practise; I was totally focused from the very first point, I received service well, he was unsure. Today’s results just prove that we are really together as a team.” Cristian Pletea
Success for Cristian Pletea; Rares Sipos doubled the lead by beating An Jaehyun (9-11, 11-13, 14-12, 11-4, 11-8), before Dragos Florin Oprea experienced defeat at the hands of Kwak Yubin (11-6, 12-10, 12-10) and An Jaehyun accounted for Cristian Pletea (11-9, 8-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-3) to level matters.
Cometh the hour cometh the man, cometh Rares Sipos; in a dramatic five games contest beat Baek Hogyun to seal the victory, note the fourth game (7-11, 11-4, 5-11, 18-16, 11-6).
“An Jaehyun is a great player, when I started the match I thought I could win; he stole the first two games, I had game points, I had chances. In the third game he led 11-10, he had match point, I came back to win. Against Baek Hogyun I saved three match points in the fourth game and won; it’s not about me, we are a team, that is the important point.” Rares Sipos.
Earlier in the day, Korea with the same three players on duty had recorded a three-one in opposition to Sweden’s Simon Soderlund, Truls Moregard and Martin Friis, the no.10 seeds.
Romania now meets Sweden in the concluding contest to determine the final group order.