HCTT edged closer to their double champions goal with 3-2 and 3-1 victories over their opponents in the A’Div Boys and Girls semi-finals matches respectively.
In the A’Div Girls Match, Liauw Wan Ling spearheaded the first singles of the encounter with NYJC. Her ferocious aggressive playing style and steady defensive strategies were sufficient in seeing off her opponent in straight sets. Next up was the doubles pair of May Tan and Han Yu Shi. The comeback queens, as evident from the previous match of which they saved 2 match points in, struggled to reach top form at the crucial moments and eventually fell to the NYJC counterparts 9-11, 9-11, 10-12.
The second singles was played by the team ace player Kwa Hui Qi. Hui Qi, who suffered her first defeat in the last match, was clearly distracted by her loss and swiftly found herself 2-0 down in the mach. However, with the reassurance of the coach and the support of her teammates, she regained her confidence and more importantly, her cool and composure, clawing her way back to turn the tables 3-2. This proved to be the pivotal point of the semi- finals match, as the second doubles pairing of Evelyn Koh and Wang Xun easily wrapped things up with a 3-1 victory, propelling the A’ Girls into the finals.
The A’Div Boys match was a fierce and competitive encounter though the eventual scoreline flattered our opponents. Leong Yun Hao was once again given the responsibility to play the first singles. Yun Hao was stunned as his opponent took the first set against the run of play. However, Yun Hao steadied himself and relied on his swift and powerful forehand and backhand drives to see off his opponent 3-1.
The first doubles featured Mark Hee and David Wong. In this tight and feisty battle, the duo was unable to convert their chances during important points despite taking the match to their opponents for large periods, and was made to pay for their mistakes as they lost 1-3. Zhang Sai took on the second singles and despite a shaky start, he remained sharp like before, dispatching his opponents in the most one-sided match of the semi-finals encounter.
It was then up to Yap Chun Kai and Kenneth Ler to dash NJ’s bid to enter the finals as the duo played the second doubles. Suffering from back-to-back defeats, the pair was determined to make this match count for them. Their resilience paid off as they came back twice down to level the scores at 2-2.
In the deciding set, the pair led 9-7 after a quick succession of points which included precise defending and accurate shotmaking. However, a net ball winner which went against their way diverted the momentum to the NJ pair, and despite saving three match points, they were unable to take the match. Therefore, the burden of the last singles was yet again left on Lim Jie Yan. Jie Yan showed no signs of mercy to this opponent, finishing the match in straight sets in approximately 10 minutes.
With these wins, HCTT has successfully progressed to the finals of the A’ Div Nationals Finals. Our paddlers will be facing off with RI(JC) next Thursday, 23 April 2009.