The return leg was in Gan Hong Hoe Badminton Hall, Melaka. I was overjoyed to get my leave approved and thus was able to join the team down to Melaka.
This round, Aaron was seeded 3/4 and had some advantage with the draw, having to avoid the top 3 seeds and half of the 5/8 seeded players. Unfortunately he cannot avoid the much improved Melaka stalwart, Yong Bing Yan where he was in scintillating form during MSSM competition. 1st Leg Champion, Liew Xuan and a determined Justin Hoh were also in Aaron’s half.
Aaron again opened his account against Negeri Sembilan’s Roslin Fozi which after this match would have a head-to-head of 4 -0 in favour of Aaron.
Next match against KL Tan Zhen Tseng was quite tricky. We ran some videos of his play in the early rounds and from there, the coaches were confident Aaron could get a handle of him. Aaron won in straight sets but was a little slack in the second set due to some discomfort on his foot and sole, probably due to over exertion in training.
There were two upsets in the quarters. Fast rising Ng Yaw Ping squeezed past Derrick Eng of Johor and took home the match in rubber game. 11 year-old Justin Hoh was also in serious form upsetting favourite Liew Xuan in straight sets.
Two years ago, Aaron lost to Yong Bing Yan in a private tournament. We knew from the video footage, the Melaka no. 1 has been solid in his game during MSSM and in the circuit leg 2 preliminary rounds. Aaron dropped the first set after staging a come back late in the game. However, his fight fizzled out in the second set after he complained about his foot aches. Despite this defeat, he has accumulated enough points to qualify for the GP finals.
In doubles, it was a disappointing first game knockout to a scratch pair from Johor, Liew Xuan/Ng Tze Chian. The game was riddled with uncharacteristic errors until both coaches were flabbergasted starring blankly at an empty court after the game was over. Truthfully I was embarrassed at the way our boys handled the game. After a quiet talk with the chief coach, we concluded that Aaron’s mind was already hard-wired for his singles game which was not his fault in all honestly. It’s just that we did not expect the game to have ended the way it did.
In spite of this setback, both Aaron/Jie Yang have accumulated enough points to qualify for the GP finals in the doubles as well, thanks to their semi-final feat in the 1st leg. Having said that, the boys have an almost insurmountable task now to shape back their performance to the level where they are capable of and we have less than 4 months to achieve it.
Round 1 : Aaron Wong vs Bye
Round 2 : Aaron Wong (PJ) vs Muhd Roslin Fozi (NS) 21 – 12, 21 - 11
Round 3 : Aaron Wong (PJ) vs Tan Zhen Tseng (KL) 21 – 16, 21 – 18
Qtr Final : Aaron Wong (PJ) vs Yong Bing Yan (MK) 18 - 21, 7 - 21
1st Round : Aaron /Jie Yang (PJ) vs Bye
2nd Round : Aaron /Jie Yang (PJ) vs Liew Xuan / Ng Tze Chian(JH) 21 –9, 21 – 7