SINGAPOREAN Lam York Wuan and Malaysian Elaine Koay were more than deserving winners at the ASEAN Games Australia 2012 tennis tournament. Juliana Mare reports.
Lam York Wuan, from Singapore, knows what it’s like to be a champion at the ASEAN Games Australia (AGA) tennis tournament. The Monash University marketing student, who plays tennis casually, is one-half of the duo that claimed victory in the AGA 2011 tennis men’s doubles final.
He returned this year with new partner Marc Khoo, to defend his title, and the pair effortlessly stormed through the competition for a championship showdown with the team of Gerry Christopher and Harry Chernyang, from Indonesia and Malaysia respectively.
During the match, the close friendship between York Wuan and Marc was evident to all who were present, as they exchanged fist bumps and high-fives between points. Even each other’s mistakes were met with jokes and laughter.
However, the easy camaraderie masked the duo’s aggressive playing style which included lightning serves and clever, varied shots. Their opponents responded well to the pressure, saving some impressive one-handed backhand shots, but ultimately succumbed 3-6, 1-6.
“It’s the first time we took part in a proper tournament,” Marc said after the match.
“We’re good friends so playing together is just really fun.”
Friends they may be, but it was all business when they battled each other for the tournament’s men’s singles title later in the day. Both players adopted the same aggressive playing style which served them well in their doubles r and no quarter was given.
Early in the first set, Marc had his serve broken and trailed his opponent, two games to one. He broke back later in the set but dropped his serve again to gift it to York Wuan, 6-4.
The second set began with an exciting rally which York Wuan eventually won by lobbing the tennis ball over Marc’s head and out of his reach. Already a set down, Marc gave it his all, skidding across the tennis court, stretching to retrieve shots. However, it was all for naught as an unforced error sealed his fate, 4-6, 3-6.
“[York Wuan] had a few match points already so I was just trying to survive, and then he was just slicing and I just figured I had to go for it, I couldn’t wait,” Marc explained.
Both players said although their level of tennis was pretty even, it was tough competing against a friend.
“[We] know each other’s styles so I kind of know what to do against him and he knows what to do against me,” said York Wuan.
Elaine controlled most of the match with powerful, topspin-laden first serves. Melissa worked hard to stay in contention, but multiple unforced errors left her with just the silver and a variety of blisters on her feet.
“I know I was really impatient,” Melissa conceded.
“Just trying to get a point over because she kept hitting all the balls back and…sometimes you make mistakes but in the end I was the one making all the mistakes.”
Melissa, partnering Munirah Hani Kamal Shukri, was second to Elaine, partnering Aina Lim again in the women’s doubles event.
Elaine also won the tournament’s mixed doubles event with Chan Xian Long.