World Championships | 21 May 2023
DRAGOMAN and GERALDO Stun Opponents at 2023 ITTF World Championships Finals in Durban
In a thrilling display of skill and determination, Andreea DRAGOMAN of Romania and Joao GERALDO of Portugal pulled off remarkable upsets in the opening Round of the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals in Durban. DRAGOMAN defeated CHEN Szu-Yu of Taipei in a straight games, while GERALDO emerged victorious over Liam PITCHFORD of England in a thrilling seven-game battle.
Facing heavy odds, Andreea DRAGOMAN, ranked No. 86, showcased her immense talent and tenacity against the favored CHEN Szu-Yu, ranked No. 29. Despite trailing early in the match, DRAGOMAN mounted an impressive comeback in the first game, eventually securing a game on the scoreboard. Maintaining her momentum, the 22-year-old Romanian never relinquished control and closed out the match in style, winning in straight games (13-11, 12-10, 11-2, 11-6). Her dominant performance was marked by her ability to control the receive game, winning 50% of Chen's serves, while also winning over 65% of her own serves. This significant difference in service effectiveness allowed Dragoman to claim victory, amassing 47 points to Chen's 29.
With this extraordinary win, Andreea DRAGOMAN now looks ahead to the next round, where she will face Ozge YILMAZ in the round of 64. A victory in this match would equal her impressive performance in 2021, where she caused an upset by defeating Petrissa SOLJA en route to the round of 32.
Meanwhile, in another enthralling match, Joao GERALDO secured a stunning upset victory over World No. 23 Liam PITCHFORD. PITCHFORD, who reached the Men's Singles round of 16 at the 2021 World Championships Finals, aimed to surpass his previous performance in Durban. However, Geraldo had different plans, delivering a nail-biting contest that ended with a 4-3 scoreline in his favor (12-10, 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 5-11, 13-11).
Right from the outset, both players fought tooth and nail for the upper hand. GERALDO gained the early advantage, saving a game point at 9-10 to claim the first game. PITCHFORD swiftly responded with a composed display in the second game. However, luck seemed to evade PITCHFORD in the third game, as he failed to capitalize on a 6-9 lead, allowing GERALDO to regain control. The tense battle continued, with neither player able to establish a significant advantage, leading to a thrilling deciding seventh game.
Deep into the seventh game, PITCHFORD held a slim 8-9 lead and required just two more points for victory. However, GERALDO summoned the energy for a final surge and clinched a dramatic 13-11 win, sealing his place in the last 64 and leaving PITCHFORD disappointed with his day's performance.