08 Dec 2018

Winner at the Europe Youth Top 10 in Vila Real in September but perhaps more significantly a Men’s Singles semi-finalist some two weeks ago at the ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open in Minsk, Romania’s Cristian Pletea was very much the young man in form at the quarter-final stage of the Boys’ Singles event on the evening of Saturday 8th December at the 2018 World Junior Championships in Bendigo, Australia.

He beat China’s Yu Heyi in four straight games (12-10, 13-11, 11-9, 11-7).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Status suggests the 18 year old Romanian was the favourite; he was the no.5 seed as opposed to his adversary who occupied the no.10 seeded position. However, Yu Heyi has proved this year that he is a player of high quality; he heads the ITTF World Junior Circuit Standings. Moreover in Bendigo he was in form; in the previous round he had beaten Kanak Jha of the United States, the top seed, in five games (6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-2, 11-9).

Defeat for Yu Heyi and there was also defeat for colleague Xu Yingbin; the no.16 seed, in the closest contest of the round, he was beaten by Japan’s Yukiya Uda by the very narrowest of decisions (9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9). Perhaps the fact that throughout the year Yukiya Uda has been exposed to life on the Seamaster ITTF World Tour and at ITTF Challenge Series tournaments was a vital factor in the success; notably in Belgium he was the Men’s Singles runner up.

Disappointments for China but there was success; in seven games, Xiang Peng, the no.8 seed, eventually overcame India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar, the no.2 seed (11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 14-16, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8); in an almost equally hard fought engagement, Xu Haidong, the no.3 seeds, ended the hopes of Japan’s Yuta Tanaka, the no.7 seed (9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7).

At the semi-final stage Cristian Pletea meets Xu Haidong, Yukiya Uda opposes Xiang Peng; play in Bendigo concludes on Sunday 9th December.

World Junior Championships 2018 World Junior Championships Cristian Pletea

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Day 1 - 2018 World Junior Championships