Although Hafiz eventually went down 17-21, 10-21 to world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, the former All-England champion showed great determination with his improved attacking play.
Both shuttlers entertained the crowd with some their brilliant shots, exchanging the lead right up to 14-14 before Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist Chong Wei pressed on to take the first game.
Hafiz ran out of steam in the second game, allowing the speedy Chong Wei to seal an easy win.
Chong Wei was full of praise for Hafiz and hoped that the latter’s fighting display was an indication of his seriousness in making a comeback.
“Hafiz showed improvement in his game. In fact, I was surprised by his attacking game from the start. Usually, he takes time to get into the game,” said Chong Wei.
Obviously, there has been a change in Hafiz’s approach to the game since training under former world champion Hendrawan of Indonesia from July 2.
Hafiz, who is being given a second chance by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to revive his flagging career, has been put through a strenuous physical training programme by Hendrawan.
On his preparation for the world meet in Hyderabad, India, from Aug 10-16, Chong Wei said that it was systems go.
“The next few days are crucial. My main concern right now is to stay injury-free during training,” he said.
National women’s doubles shuttler Wong Pei Tty was the biggest winner yesterday – emerging champion in the mixed doubles with Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari and women’s doubles with Chin Eei Hui.
Source: the star online