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Monday January 21, 2013
THE stage was all set for mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying to win their first Malaysian Open title.
With top pairs like China’s Xu Chen-Ma Jin and Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei and Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir not competing, and with a huge crowd to cheer them on, Peng Soon-Liu Ying had their best ever chance to win the title.
Instead, they blew it.
The top seeds and world No. 3, who had struggled since the first round, were once again insipid and timid as they lost to second seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen 13-21, 18-21 in yesterday’s final.
A combination of nerves and a lack of speed on court cost Peng Soon-Liu Ying dearly as they were swatted aside in the first game.
The second game looked to be going the same way as the first as the Danes established a huge lead of 19-13.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying, however, refused to give up and fought back to reduce the deficit to 19-18.
The Danes, with all their experience, just did enough to snatch the last two points to deny the Malaysians the chance of ending the 50-year wait for a home title in the mixed doubles.
Tan Aik Huang-Teoh Siew Yong were the last Malaysian pair to win the mixed title in 1963.
Peng Soon attributed the defeat to nervousness and the pressure they put on themselves.
“We gave ourselves too much pressure because we really wanted to win. We were all tensed up going into the match,” said Peng Soon.
“It was not the best result we wanted but what’s done is done. Now, we have to get ready for the next tournament at the German Open (Feb 26-March 3),” he added.
Liu Ying was apologetic for their dismal performance and for letting the crowd down.
“It’s quite disappointing and I’m really sorry for letting the crowd and all those who supported us down,” said Liu Ying. “We really did not play our best in this tournament and there is no excuse for that.”
Pedersen was delighted that they managed to find their form at the right moment.
“I’m really happy with the win because Peng Soon-Liu Ying played a good tournament up to the final. They also had the home crowd backing them,” said Pedersen.
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