PETALING JAYA: National mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying had to play the bridesmaid role once more to Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir.
Two years after being pipped to the Olympic gold in Rio De Janeiro, Peng Soon-Liu Ying again found their rivals and world ranked No. 3 duo too hot to handle.
The Indonesians, backed by vociferous homes fans, easily powered past the Malaysians at 21-17, 21-8 to retain their title in just 38 minutes at the intimidating Istora Senayan.
It was Peng Soon-Liu Ying’s sixth straight defeat to the Indonesians who extended their head-to-head record to 10-1 since the two pairs first met in 2011.
Peng Soon admitted Tontowi-Liliyana were simply a class above.
“They made it very difficult for us. We just couldn’t play our game at all,” said Peng Soon.
“It’s definitely disappointing to lose when it mattered most, having fought hard to make it to the final.”
Despite missing out on a major triumph since winning the Japan Open in 2012, it was, nevertheless, a good response to their first round exit in the Malaysian Open last week.
In Jakarta, they beat world No. 1 Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping and No. 2 Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong, both from China, in the quarter-finals and semi-finals en route to yesterday’s showdown.
“I thought we did really well in Indonesia this week by beating the top pairs to reach the final of a Super 1000 (World Tour) event. It proved that our preparation for the World Championships is on the right path.
“So, there’s plenty of positives to take from this week. What’s more important is that we must carry this momentum to Nanjing for the world meet and then to the Asian Games in August.”
Reaching their fourth final of the year underlined Peng Soon-Liu Ying’s status as the best performing pair in the mixed doubles department this year.
The world No. 15 bagged two titles this year – the Malaysian Masters in January and the US Open last month. They were also the runners-up at the Australian Open.
The battle for the men’s singles crown saw Kento Momota of Japan humiliating world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 21-14, 21-9 to reclaim the title he last won in 2015.
The win also made up for Momota’s disappointment of losing to Lee Chong Wei in the final of the Malaysian Open last week.
But the player of the moment has to be world No. 1 women’s singles player Tai Tzu-ying who picked up her fifth title in as many tournaments.
Tzu-ying clawed back from a game down to beat China’s Chen Yufei 21-23, 21-15, 21-9 as she stretched her winning streak to a whopping 29 matches.