SEREMBAN: Youngster Julia Wong showed true grit when she upset national shuttler K. Sugita to reach the women’s singles semi-finals in the Proton-EON National Grand Prix Finals at the Negri Sembilan Chinese Recreation Club (NSCRC) Hall here yesterday.
The 17-year-old Julia, who landed in the hospital due to dehydration after upsetting second seed Woon Sze Mei a day earlier, bounced back to eliminate Sugita 11-1, 8-11, 11-9 in another energy-sapping 40-minute battle to finish as runner-up in Group B.
Julia joined another Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) student, Nor Syahliza Baharum, in the semis.
Today, Julia will take on Vietnam SEA Games champion Wong Mew Choo while Nor Syahliza, who topped Group B, will play Group A runner-up Anita Kaur of Kuala Lumpur.
“I just did not want to think about my fatigue. My legs felt weak but I did not want to waste the opportunity as I knew I had a chance to make the semi-finals. On top of that, I had beaten Sugita before,” said the Malacca shuttler, who took 60 minutes to beat Sze Mei 11-13, 11-3, 11-8 on Thursday.
“It was certainly a great win for me against Sze Mei. I was leading 8-3 in the rubber game but my legs felt so wobbly that even the umpire advised me to stop playing. But I hung in there to win the remaining three points,” said Julia.
“I was put on drips in the hospital. It was scary and my parents were so worried. But I am glad that I made it today.”
On her match against Mew Choo today, she said: “I am just thrilled to get a chance to play against the SEA Games champion. It will give me a chance to gauge my standard compared to her,”
Julia’s main aim this year is to achieve good results in the Asian Junior Championships in July. Prior to that, she will feature in her first international tournament – the Thailand Open in Bangkok from Jan 20-25.