by Simon Daish
Heading into the last four off the back of a dramatic 3-2 triumph over Greece, expectations were high for the German line-up but right from the start of the semi-final the momentum was with France thanks to Bastien Rembert’s early victory over Meng Fanbo (11-8, 14-12, 11-8).
The French lead was extended in the following fixture with Irvin Bertrand condemning Cedric Meissner to a four games defeat (11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7). Kay Stumper managed to restore some pride for Team Germany with a straight games success against Lilian Bardet (11-7, 11-6, 11-8) but a second win for Bastien Rembert, who accounted for Cedric Meissner (12-10, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7) brought Germany’s title defence campaign to a close.
Much to the disappointment of the local spectators in Cluj-Napoca the semi-finals would prove to be the end of the host nation’s silverware ambitions in the Junior Boys’ Team category as Romania fell to a 3-2 defeat against Russia.
Rather intriguingly Romania raced out of the blocks at the faster rate as Rares Sipos held the edge against Vladimir Sidorenko (11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-3) only for Lev Katsman to level the scores with a win for Russia in the second encounter.
Russia then took the lead for the first time in the match through Maksim Grebnev, but Romania kept the tie alive with Cristian Pletea’s straight games victory over Vladimir Sidorenko (11-6, 11-7, 11-6) forcing a decider. Lev Katsman went on to seal Russia’s place in the final after posting a 3-0 win against Rares Sipos (11-9, 11-7, 12-10), a result which was met with scenes of celebrations from his teammates.