Peng Soon (left) reacts, watched by Liu Ying as the pair lost to Tontowi-Liliyana of Indonesia in the final of Celcom Axiata Malaysian Open at Malawati Stadium. - Bernama
SHAH ALAM: Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying stood toe-to-toe with second seeds Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir in the mixed doubles final of the Celcom Axiata Malaysian Open.
But it just wasn’t their day.
And the Malaysians had to settle for second best yet again after going down fighting 21-23, 21-13, 21-16 in a pulsating 80-minute final at the Malawati Stadium.
“We’re disappointed, but it’s all right,” said Peng Soon.
“Our performance in today’s final might not be our best, but Liu Ying and I gave it our all. There are a lot of positives to be taken from this fruitful week.”
Liu Ying felt the same.
“I was actually surprised that we made it this far,” said Liu Ying.
“We’ve come a long way to get our performance back to such a high level once more. We’ve improved with every tournament since reuniting about a year ago (after she recovered from knee surgeries).
“We won the Grand Prix Gold event two weeks ago ... it would have been nice for us to win a Superseries title this week, but sadly it did not materialise. A final is still a decent result.”
World No. 12 Peng Soon-Liu Ying, the runners-up in 2013, headed into Sunday’s final in buoyant mood after an impressive nine-match unbeaten streak, which included wins over world No. 1 Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei and No. 4 Xu Chen-Ma Jin of China.
They were also looking to end their four-year Superseries title drought. They’ve been in four Superseries finals, but won just once – Japan Open in 2012.
The Malaysian pair, backed by about 10,000 home crowd, started on the back foot but did well to fight back from 6-13 down to narrow it to 17-20, before the Indonesians wrapped up the first game.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying gave an improved performance in the second game to race home in style.
The decider was a close affair until Tontowi-Liliyana picked up four straight points to lead 13-9. Although the Malaysians rallied to make it 16-17, the Indonesians stamped their class to seal victory.