Peng Soon-Liu Ying bag Thailand Masters title after long absence

Sweet return: Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying posing with their mock cheque and medals after winning the Thailand Masters crown yesterday.

Sweet return: Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying posing with their mock cheque and medals after winning the Thailand Masters crown yesterday.

PETALING JAYA: Mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying announced their comeback in style by winning the Thailand Masters.

The Rio Olympics silver medallists showed great character and tenacity to beat home favourites Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Puttita Supajirakul 21-15, 14-21, 21-16 in the final in Bangkok yesterday.

The duo have not played together for the last eight months since Liu Ying underwent shoulder surgery in May.

But yesterday’s stunning result proved that the long break is nothing more than a minor detour as Peng Soon-Liu Ying showed that they still had it in them to produce top-notch performances.

It is Peng Soon-Liu Ying’s eighth career title but the first under the revamped BWF World Tour.

And it’s certainly a great start to the year for the world No. 58, especially with three major events ahead of them. They will compete in the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April, the Asian Games in Indonesia and the World Championships in China – both in August.

Peng Soon, who reached the final of the All-England with Liu Ying in March last year before his partner’s unfortunate injury, was happy to make a winning comeback.

“It was our first meeting with this pair and we weren’t so familiar with their style of play. But we got our tactics right to win,” said Peng Soon.

“Of course it’s great to win because it was our target but we’re not excited over one title.

“It’s however important that we are improving with each match and we’re getting our old rhythm back. It also helps to restore the coaches’ confidence in us.

“It’s also a good boost for us as the three major events are our target.”

Peng Soon-Liu Ying now look to carry that winning form to the Malaysian Masters which starts tomorrow at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.

They are drawn to meet Singapore’s Terry Hee-Tan Wei Han in the first round with a second-round clash with sixth seeds Mathias Christiansen-Christinna Pedersen of Denmark on the cards.

Meanwhile, there was no joy for reigning Asian Junior champion Leong Jun Hao as he fell flat against second seed Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia in the men’s singles final.

The 18-year-old, who defeated a host of high ranked players en route to the final, found the experienced Tommy too hot to handle as he lost 16-21, 15-21.

“He was more experienced than me and he used that to his advantage. It’s disappointing to lose but I’m not disheartened because I never expected to reach the final in the first place,” said Jun Hao.