Peng Soon to iron out kinks to stand a chance in Rio

PETALING JAYA: Mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying have the potential to be medal contenders at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

But first, they must sort out Peng Soon’s weak service game.

The world No. 12 claimed impressive wins over world No. 1 and reigning Olympic champions Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei and world No. 4 Xu Chen-Ma Jin – both from China – in the Malaysian Open last week.

But while Liu Ying was outstanding at the net, the 27-year-old Peng Soon was caught out several times in the final, which they eventually lost to world No. 2 Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia.

“Peng Soon-Liu Ying have definitely shown a lot of improvements in the last two months ... I hope they’ll continue to stay consistent heading into the Olympics,” said mixed doubles coach Chin Eei Hui.

“But Peng Soon’s service wasn’t very good. That’s something we need to work on.

“There are still a few more months before the Olympics, we’ll use the Malaysian Open result to keep pushing them.”

Eei Hui also said that she is pushing two other mixed doubles pairs – Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing and Tan Chee Tean-Chow Mei Kuan – to close the gap on Peng Soon-Liu Ying.

Malaysian Masters runners-up Kian Meng-Pei Jing are ranked 67th in the world while Chee Tean-Mei Kuan are further behind at No. 112.

“So far, the other two pairs are on track and making progress ... especially Kian Meng, who switched from singles last year,” said Eei Hui.

“It may be too early for them to start winning tournaments regularly, but it would be good if they can continue to gain experience and upset other higher-ranked pairs.”

All three mixed doubles pairs will compete at the China Masters in Jiangsu from April 19-24.

Kian Meng-Pei Jing will also join Peng Soon-Liu Ying to compete in the Asia Badminton Championships (ABC) in Wuhan from April 26-May 1.