IT was Malaysia’s game over the two day event, with representatives taking home five medals, including two gold. Daniel Driscoll reports.
Malaysia proved to be the ultimate winner in the tennis, scoring five medals in total, with gold in the Women’s Singles and Men’s Doubles on Sunday.
The action played out over two days at the Albert Park Reserve Tennis Centre with most of the semi-finals and the mixed doubles finals played out on Saturday. The Women’s and Men’s Singles, and the Men’s Doubles were played out on Sunday.
Saturday saw Alexander Song and Yan Qi Chan, representing Laos, emerge victors in the Mixed Doubles in a round robin competition between three teams. They smashed the competition in each of their games winning 9-1, 9-2, 9-0. Indonesians Kenneth Hartono and Jennifer Hartono placed second, and Leon Chuah and Tara Susanto in third.
Sunday kicked off with Malaysia collecting gold, silver and bronze in the Women’s Singles final. The tournament was played as a five person, round-robin competition, with each competitor playing to one set to win their match. The player with the highest points then emerged as the winner.
In a surprise outcome, 17-year-old Megan Hong, representing Malaysia, was declared the winner, beating former Malaysian state champ and fellow Malaysian representative Yan Qi Chan who placed second, with Michelle Tan in third.
Megan won her games with ease with the exception of her bout against Yan Qi in a close 8-6 match to take first place. The pool of less experienced first timers proved no match for the youngest player in the game, as Megan’s experience gained her the points she needed to take first place.
Megan said it was her first ASEAN Games and the win came as a surprise she “didn’t expect”, but was grateful for her win nonetheless.
She had expected players to be uptight and fiercely competitive, but instead found herself having forged friendships with her competition by the end of the day. She said it was a pity only a few girls were playing this year.
Reflecting on her loss, runner-up Yan Qi said the finals “was a close match and quite tiring”.
Doubles partners Marc Khoo and Shanan Woo representing Singapore, went into the Men’s Doubles finals favoured to win, having performed strongly in the semi-finals. They fought a tough match under the hot sun but were eventually beaten 7-5, 6-1 by Shaun Chee and Loon Chan representing Malaysia who led continually throughout the match.
Both sides had lightning fast serves and aces were smashed through on either side repeatedly. It was telling that Shaun and Loon had the upper hand when shouts of frustration could be heard from the other side as multiple faults were placed and victory slowly evaded their grasp. It was obvious the sun was wearing the players’ resistances down as the match went on.
The exhaustion could be seen clearly on Shannon’s face, having played a Singles semi-final not long before the Doubles. When asked whether having played earlier in the day had impact on their match Marc said “Singles and Doubles are different games, we just got outplayed”.
“These guys don’t miss many shots,” he said.
Third place went to Harry Tan Chern Yang and Gerry Christopher.
Marc Khoo battled fellow Singaporean and long-time friend Shanan Woo in the Men’s final. Marc emerged victor after a long, frustrating game.
Shanan initially led, with 6-3 in the first game. The tables turned shortly after with some quick play and wide shots that saw Shanan miss repeated volleys. As the game wore on the occasional smack of a tennis racquet on the ground signaled the loss of concentration they were experiencing in the long part of the day. The game eventually wrapped up at 6-1, 6-1, both players exhausted from the long game and even longer day.
“It’s tough playing a friend, it was a tough match,” Marc said after the game.
Shanan said he was frustrated by his performance.
“My strength is my forehand and it just wasn’t happening,” he said.
David Yosua of Indonesia came in third.
Operations and Logistics Director Rebecca Chin said the competition was a good way for competitors from Southeast Asian countries to meet people from their region and to make future contacts.
“The competitors play for fun. The main aim is to get people from Southeast Asian nations to mix. It’s good to have the network. It’s an up and coming region and there’s a lot of opportunities for growth,” she said.