14 Feb 2018

Defeat on the opening day of action, disappointment; on the second day of play, Tuesday 13th February, for Cristian Pletea it was better news at the 2018 Road to Buenos Aires – Europe tournament in Hodonin.

He turned the tables to become the first Romanian male player to qualify for a Youth Olympic Games; a situation some different for the girls. Berndette Szocs had played in 2010 in Singapore, Adina Diaconu in Nanjing in 2014 whilst on the first day of action in Hodonin, Andreea Dragoman had booked her Buenos Aires place.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

The no.2 seed, on the initial day of action he had been beaten at the quarter-final stage of proceedings by Azerbaijan’s Yu Khinshang (12-10, 11-7, 11-5, 1-11, 11-7), a player with no current Word ranking, one day later in the final, Cristian Pletea extracted revenge.

Impressively, he accounted for Yu Khinshang, in five games (7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9).

Once again the no.2 seed, en route to the final he overcame Finland’s Alex Naumi (12-10, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8) and Portugal’s José Pedro Francisco (11-6, 13-11, 11-5, 11-8) to reach the penultimate round where he ended the progress of Singapore’s Ben Kun Ting, the no.14 seed (11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-8).

Pertinently, Ben Kun Ting was a player in form, in the second round he had beaten Austria’s Maciej Kolodziejczyk, the no.4 seed (12-10, 5-11, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7), prior to ousting Germany’s Kay Stumper, the no.6 seed (11-13, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5).

Upsets in the lower half of the draw, it was the same in the top half with Yu Khinshang the perpetrator.

In the opening round he beat Italy’s Matteo Mutti, the no.3 seed (11-7, 9-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-9), prior to overcoming Hong Kong’s Maurice Kai Ning Chong, the no.14 seed (11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7) and Poland’s Artur Grela, the no.5 seed (11-6, 5-11, 11-6, 11-9, 12-10) to reach the semi-finals. It was in that round he caused the biggest upset of the day. He ended the progress of India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar, the top seed and player presently listed in top spot on the Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings.

Impressively, Yu Khinshang won in four straight games (11-5, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8).

The next Road to Buenos Aires Series will be staged in Soliman, Tunisia on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th March.

Continental Tournaments – Qualifiers (as on Sunday 17th December)

Africa: Youssef Abdel Aziz (Egypt), Nathael Hamdoun (Tunisia)
Asia: Tomokazu Harimoto (Japan), Lin Yun-Ju (Chinese Taipei), Wang Chuqin (China), Cho Daeseong (Korea)
Europe: Ioannis Sgouropoulos (Greece), Vladimir Sidorenko (Russia), Medardas Stankievicius (Lithuania), Vladislav Urdu (Moldova)
Latin America: Nicolas Burgos (Chile), Guillerme Teodoro (Brazil)
North America: Kanak Jha (United States)
Oceania: Nathan Xu (New Zealand)

Africa: Esther Oribamise (Nigeria), Marwa Alhodaby (Egypt)
Asia: Miu Hirano (Japan), Sun Yingsha (China), Jinnipa Sawettabut (Thailand), Su Pei-Ling (Chinese Taipei)
Europe: Lucie Gauthier (France), Mariia Tailakova (Russia), Ning Jing (Azerbaijan), Nadezhda Bogdanova (Belarus)
Latin America: Adriana Diaz (Puerto Rico), Bruna Takahashi (Brazil)
North America: Amy Wang (United States)
Oceania: Vong Hui Ling (New Zealand)

Road to Buenos Series (as on Tuesday 13th February)

Europe: Bastian Rembert (France), Cristian Pletea (Romania

Europe: Andreea Dragoman (Romania), Lee Ka Yee (Hong Kong)

Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games 2018 Road to Buenos Aires Europe Cristian Pletea

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Day 9 - Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games