01 Dec 2017

Korea’s An Jaehyun and Kim Jiho caused the bigger upset, Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Adina Diaconu enjoyed the bigger celebration; such was the scenario as the sixth day of play, Friday 2nd December, at the 2017 ITTF World Junior Championships in Riva del Garda concluded in a cauldron of enjoyment, ecstasy and excitement.

Both beat Chinese pairings.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

An Jaehyun and Kim Jiho, the no.8 seeds, after earlier in the evening having beaten Japan’s Masaki Takami and Mitsuho Kimura, the no.15 seeds (11-6, 11-8, 11-8) accounted for China’s Niu Guankai and Sun Xunyao, the no.3 seeds (11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8).

It was outstanding performance but it was overshadowed by the efforts of Cristian Pletea and Adina Diaconu as with every possible member of the Romanian delegation massed in the tiered seating and every success applauded to the hilt, Cristian Pletea and Adina Diaconu beat Xu Haidong and Qian Tainyi (8-11, 11-8, 14-12, 3-11, 11-8).

The win was as seeding advised, Cristian Pletea and Adina Diaconu were the no.4 seeds, Xu Haidong and Qian Tianyi, the no.5 seeds but that fact counted for nought. A win had been recorded against China; that is special and it reflects the incredible status in the sport that the Asian country commands.

“I don’t remember anything; I think winning the third game was the most important. It was one-one, it was vital. We didn’t always have the right tactic, we had to keep the ball on the table but we had to be aggressive. I did feel quite confident before the match and I did believe.” Adina Diaconu

“I told Adina before the match that we could win, not to be stressed out; if the Chinese get away from you and they have a big lead they are unstoppable but they are no different to us; keep close and they make mistakes, they become nervous. It was vital we played with a lot of spin and put the ball on the table to keep them under pressure; important we played with high quality. We are a good pair, we must have been together now for eight years.” Cristian Pletea

Defeats for China but in the other two semi-finals it was success. Xue Fei and Wang Manyu, the top seeds, accounted for the combination of Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko and Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.7 seeds (11-6, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5) to reserve their place in the penultimate round. Similarly, Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha, the no,.2 seeds, ended the brave run of the combination formed by Portugal’s José Pero Francisco and Hong Kong’s Chau Wing Sze (11-5, 11-4, 11-1, 11-7).

At the semi-final stage Xue Fei and Wang Manyu face Cristian Pletea and Adina Diaconu; An Jaehyun and Kim Jiho oppose Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha.

The semi-finals of the Mixed Doubles event will be played on Saturday 2nd December.

World Junior Championships 2017 World Junior Championships Cristian Pletea Adina Diaconu An Jaehyun Kim Jiho

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Day 8 - 2017 World Junior Table Tennis Championships