Lai Pei Jing (front) and partner Chan Peng Soon in training last month. They will face defending champions and reigning world champions Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia in the first round of the All-England.
BIRMINGHAM: It’s only been two tournaments but Chan Peng Soon is already singing the praises of new partner Lai Pei Jing.
The mixed doubles pair made their debut at the Austrian International Challenge last month and enjoyed a fine run to the final before losing to Poland’s Robert Mateusiak-Agnieszka Wotjkowska.
Last week, the pair’s weaknesses were cruelly exposed by South Korea’s Ko Sung-hyun-Kim Ha-na in the German Open as they lost in the first round.
But Peng Soon, who turns 26 next month, is still impressed with Pei Jing, who is five years his junior, especially with her diligence.
“We’ve had a decent start, one final and one first round defeat ... that was because our partnership is still very new,” said Peng Soon.
“There is a lot more that we need to work on; most importantly, our understanding and communication during matches.
“Although getting good results are important ... that’s not so the case this time. It’s all for Pei Jing to get more experience playing at this level.
“She is a good player and definitely has the quality but she hasn’t played many matches at a high level. This is a very good learning experience for her ... to see how she copes.”
Peng Soon also said that partnering Pei Jing has given him a new perspective on his own game, which he hopes to put to good use if he resumes his partnership with Goh Liu Ying, who is currently nursing knee injuries.
“It’s quite different from playing with Liu Ying, with whom I’ve been through a lot ... we usually start tournaments seeded, so we get slightly easier draws,” explained Peng Soon.
“With Pei Jing, we’ve had to start from scratch. But it’s good too as I can expand my own game.
“I can see that Pei Jing has stepped up her game tremendously ... she’s showing a really good attitude and is working hard during trainings.
“As for the All-England, there’s no real target since we’ve been given the toughest possible draw. We’ll just go out and fight.”
Peng Soon-Pei Jing will face defending champions and reigning world champions Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia in the first round.
Meanwhile, China’s dominant pair of Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei are favourites to win their second All-England title after 2010 although Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen, who thrashed the Chinese in the final of the Malaysian Open in January, may again prove to be spoilers.