I wrote in the previous post how the crowd in my match against Taufik Hidayat was mostly against me. In the next match (last 16) against Hafiz Hashim, a Malaysian, the crowd was even noisier and of course supporting him.
I'd recovered quite well from my match the previous day. I felt a little stiff in my legs when I woke up but I had a warm up training session with Saina and our coach and felt much better after that. I was on only at 8 in the evening so I had plenty of time to rest, eat lunch and do some stretching exercises once more. I also found time to watch a couple of episodes of 'House'. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys medical drama and comedy. Hugh Laurie is insane!
I'd played Hafiz once before in 2005 and had lost quite badly. But coming off a win agaisnt Taufik, I was feeling very confident. I started off well, took an early lead, and won the first game 21-19. I was able to get off to a good start in the second game as well but I had trouble with the air conditioning in the latter half of the second game and made too many unforced errors. I lost the second 18-21. I was quite happy with my fitness and felt confident that I could keep up in the third game, and I also saw that Hafiz was tiring towards the end of the second. He was trying risky shots, taken more time than usual between rallies and breathing hard. That gave me even more of a mental boost. I was able to start well once again, changed ends at 11-8 and won 21-15.
Of course I was happy that I won and had reached the quarterfinal, but I was also thinking about my next match against Lin Dan. I'd lost to him twice before and was looking forward to playing him, especially since I was playing well. I guess I did'nt recover too well from my match against Hafiz because I was cramping again and woke up the next morning with sore and stiff legs. I did my usual warm up in the morninig and felt a little better. I was on at about 3 in the afternoon this time so I did'nt get to watch any more 'House', but I will catch up with that later.
The difference between playing someone like Lin Dan and anyone else, is that it takes just that little bit more to win a rally. I knew this as I'd played him before but it still takes a little while to get used to it. I was down in the early part of the first game but I recovered to get to game point at 20-19. In hindsight, I guess I should've waited a lttle more in that rally for a good opportunity before trying to finish it off, but then its much harder to think at that time. I let the game slip away 20-22 and never really recovered from that. In the second I could feel that I was'nt able to keep up the pace any more. I was also at the fast end in the second game so that meant that I had to attack a lot more than in the first, but I was'nt able to do it. I lost the second 9-21.
Looking back, of course I am happy about the result, it is my best result so far, but I'm not so happy about the way it ended. I feel like I can do quite a bit better than this. There are still a lot of things I have to work on and theres a lot of room for improvement. I'm working harder than ever before now, and hopefully that pays off soon. I'll be playing the Chinese Taipei Open next from 18-23 September and then heading to Denmark from there. I'll be around Europe for about 2 months or so and return in december. I will be training with Morten Frost while in Denmark and Im looking forward to learning from him. If I'm allowed to take my computer with me ( with these new security regulations, I dont know ) I'll have regular updates from Taipei and then Europe.