SEREMBAN: Bukit Jalil Sports School's (BJSS) Julia Wong landed in hospital after scoring an upset victory over second seed Woon Sze Mei in the women's badminton singles match of the Proton-Eon National Grand Prix Finals at the Negri Sembilan Chinese Recreation Club (NSCRC) Hall here yesterday.
The 17-year-old Asian schools champion Julia suffered dehydration after having kept alive her hopes to qualify for the semi-finals from Group A with a 11-13, 11-3, 11-8 win over the 27-year-old Sze Mei. She had in the morning lost 2-11, 9-11 to Norsyahliza Baharum.
National women's singles coach Fanny Kumala Mergawati said: “It was a long-drawn match with long rallies. It was too much for Julia and she suffered cramps.
“But she fought well to win the match. There was an opportunity for her to get in the semi-finals but after this very taxing match, it will be tough on her.”
While the women's competition had its drama in the opening day's action, the men's events went on cue.
Top seed Lee Chong Wei and three other national players – Lee Tsuen Seng, Yeoh Kay Bin and Kuan Beng Hong – stayed on track to finish as the group winners.
Defending champion Chong Wei proved that he was a class above the rest in Group A. He beat Mohd Hazwan Jamaluddin 15-5, 15-10 and then thrashed Nusa Mahsuri's Salim Samion 15-2, 15-2.
“It went smoothly for all the national players today. It looks like the semi-final berths will be occupied by all four of us – Tsuen Seng, Kay Bin, Beng Hong and I,” said Chong Wei.
“I feel there is a chance for me to win my second GP Finals title here. But I do want to get over confident. It will be more challenging in the semi-finals.”
In the last Finals, Chong Wei defeated Wong Choong Hann en route to winning the title.
A fired up Tsuen Seng, the player expected to prevent Chong Wei from retaining the title, also won his Group B matches against national Under-18 champion Azrihanif Azahar and Tan Zhao Rong in straight games.
Kay Bin needed 50 minutes to tame Naza-Kia sponsored Sairul Amar Ayob 13-15, 15-9, 15-3 in Group D.
Thanks to national back-up squad's Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock, there was some excitement in the men's doubles yesterday.
The youngsters almost pulled off the biggest upset of the day but in the end went down 15-9, 6-15, 7-15 to Vietnam SEA Games silver medallist Chang Kim Wai-Chew Choon Eng in a Group A match.
The 20-year-old Bin Shen, who was the 2002 world junior runner-up, said: “We wanted to upset them and we took the first game. We lost to them in the KL Open last month but we gave them a better fight this time.
“We still have a chance to enter the semi-finals. We have to beat Ong Ewe Hock-Ng Kean Kok tomorrow and we will give it our best shots.”
Ewe Hock-Kean Kok slogged to beat the lowest ranked national back-up pair of Lok Chong Hong-Ong Soon Chiang 15-10, 6-15, 15-5.
* National players unless stated
Group A: Lee Chong Wei bt Mohd Hazwan 15-5, 15-10; Ramesh Nathan bt Salim Samion 15-11, 15-3; Chong Wei bt Salim Samion 15-2, 15-2; Ramesh bt Hazwan 17-14, 13-15, 15-11.
Group B: Tan Zhao Rong bt Ismail Saman (Sel) 17-16, 15-13; Lee Tsuen Seng bt Azrihanif Azahar 15-3, 15-4; Tsuen Seng bt Zhao Rong 15-6, 15-4; Azrihanif bt Ismail 15-4, 11-15, 15-6.
Group C: Kuan Beng Hong bt Mohd Nazree Latifi 15-9, 15-10; Allan Tai bt Lok Chong Hong 15-6, 15-6; Nazree bt Allan 15-5, 8-15, 15-10; Beng Hong bt Chong Hong 15-4, 15-6.
Group D: Yeoh Kay Bin bt Sairul Amar Ayob 13-15, 15-9, 15-3; K. Yogendran bt Law Yen Thien 15-8, 15-12; Yogendran bt Sairul 15-4, 15-4; Kay Bin bt Yew Thien 15-5, 15-8.
Group A: Ng Kean Kok-Ong Ewe Hock (Kul-Pen) bt Lok Chong Hong-Ong Soon Chiang 15-10, 6-15, 15-5; Chang Kim Wai-Chew Choon Eng bt Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock 9-15, 15-6, 15-7.
Group B: Lin Woon Fui-Hong Chieng Hun bt Hoon Thien How-Tan Boon Heong 15-8, 15-13; Koo Kien Keat-Gan Teik Chai bt Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari 15-6, 15-13.
Group A: Wong Mew Choo bt Ooi Yu Hang 11-1, 11-3; Anita Kaur (Kul) bt M. Sutheaswari (Kul) 11-4, 11-6; Mew Choo bt Anita 11-8, 11-4; Sutheaswari bt Yu Hang 5-11, 11-0, 13-10.
Group B: Woon Sze Mei bt K. Sugita 11-4, 11-6; Nor Syahliza Baharum (BJSS) bt Julia Wong (BJSS) 11-2, 11-9; Julia bt Sze Mei 11-13, 11-3, 11-8; Nor Syahliza bt Sugita 11-7, 11-9.
Group A: Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty bt K. Sugita-Woon Sze Mei 15-2, 15-6; Law Pei Pei-Joanne Quay bt Nor Syahliza Baharum-Ooi Yu Hang 15-7, 15-5.
Group B: Julia Wong-Haw Chiou Hwee btM. Sutheaswari-Anita Kaur 12-15, 15-10, 15-6; Ooi Sock Ai-Mooi Hing Yau bt See Phui Leng-Marilyn Pang 15-10, 15-8.
Group A: Gan Teik Chai-Fong Chew Yen bt Ong Soon Hock-Marilyn Pang 15-10, 15-10; Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Joanne Quay bt Ng Kean Kok-Chor Hooi Yee 11-15, 15-5, 15-10.
Group B: Koo Kien Keat-Chin Eei Hui bt Tan Bin Shen-See Phui Leng 15-7, 15-4; Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Ooi Sock Ai bt Tan Boon Heong-Chong Sook Chin 10-15, 15-6, 15-13.