The Singapore players were good. They were a bit better than I had expected. As for playing Xian(Yun), I won't go into much detail. I felt he seemed a bit nervous. I ended up beating him 3-0 and kept him out all rounds except one(in which he won).
I played Leslie(Sagat) to a best out of three. His fireball game was very good. He has exceptional execution, spacing and overall fundamentals. I really enjoyed the sets. First game I tested his play-style. I don't play much against Sagat and only studied videos. A lot of the muscle memory necessary through match-play were from playing John Choi's Sagat. His fireballs were relentless. At first, I felt he was auto-piloting his fireballs in his attempt to keep me away. Once I jumped in and punished him, he made the adjustments in his fireball game. I lost the first game convincingly. The next game I played more safe. I tested his fireball game and tiger knee pressure. I ended up winning in a time-out. The last set was a mess up on my part. It came down to the last round and he had meter to fadc. I opted to block in order to avoid the ultra setup. He decided to throw, and then it happened. The first thing I see was Sagat doing a forward dash. Next, I see him doing a back dash. Right away, in my head, thinking, "This is a setup to do a safe jump on me." He jumps, does a jumping cross-up light kick and combos into crouching short, crouching jab, dp, and ultra. I had lost the match 1-2. Now here's what I did wrong. I had seen that setup before. However, it was Chun-Li vs Sagat(it's a safe jump against Chun-Li's wake-up spinning bird kick)! In the case where Sagat would try to safe jump me as Ryu, I am able to dp. The only thing he can do is cross me up or do a fake cross up(given the Ryu player has knowledge of this setup). As soon as I saw him hit me I completely thought to myself, "I'm not playing Chun-Li. Why did I block that way?" Afterward, I wasn't too worried. I really enjoyed the match against Leslie.
I also got to play against Gackt(Fei Long). His Fei Long was also relentless. He kept pressuring me whenever he had the opportunity. He didn't give me room to space out and soon enough I was in the corner. He played really aggressive and made a stand with Fei Long footsies wise. But I felt he knew the range where I can space out and shut me down. It was an uphill battle most of the sets but I lost convincingly 0-3. He later told me, "It's okay to use standing jab to stop the rekka's. Not all the time though. This is what Daigo uses." I had been using sweep to punish two blocked rekka's, but I'd get hit or trade sometimes if they time it correctly over my normal. Taking his advice and looking at it in perspective, it is much safer to use jab. It can also be hit confirm into a sweep or even low forward into a bigger combo(leading to an untechable knockdown).
Looking back at these two players they seemed to have a certain common attribute. I felt that it was their aggressive play-style. I didn't get to play them afterward, but if I did I would be able to tell you why they played so offensive. If I could guess it would probably be them hiding a certain weakness in their game-play. Another thing would be their confidence level. They are so confident in their play-style that they don't need to change gears. These are just my assumptions. As for me, I am still looking to adapt and read my opponent as fast as possible(my goal: be able to adapt the next round). It still is taking me some time, but I'm sure I'm working in the right direction. :)