PETALING JAYA: Malaysian mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying are encouraged by their performance despite coming up short in reaching their eighth World Tour semi-finals at the Fuzhou China Open.
The world No. 6 pair went down 21-18,13-21,22-24 to China’s Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping in an 85-minute thriller on Friday – their fifth straight defeat to the world No. 2.
It was a match that Peng Soon-Liu Ying could have won.
Not only did they squander a commanding 19-16 lead in the rubber game but also failed to convert their two match points at 21-20 and 22-21.
Despite missing out on a glorious chance to claim a statement-making win against Yilyu-Dongping – their main Olympic rivals in Tokyo next year, Liu Ying believes a good display in this week’s meet was all that matters.
“We’re quite pleased not just with how we performed yesterday (Friday) but this whole week too, ” said Liu Ying.
“In fact, things have started to pick up for us in the last couple of months and it shows in our game. Our combination is a lot better.
“Due to the hectic tournament schedule, we don’t get enough quality training sessions. So we opted to train during the competition.
“It wasn’t good at the beginning but we are coping very well. It’s paying off and we’re now back on the right track.”
Peng Soon-Liu Ying did well in the first seven months, winning the Thailand Masters and New Zealand Open for their two World Tour titles and reached the semi-finals of the Malaysian Masters, Indonesian Masters, Japan Open and Indonesian Open.
But they went through a rough patch after that, suffering three first-round and one second-round exits in their last seven tournaments prior to the Fuzhou meet.
It caused them to slip out of the world’s top five ranking for the first time since February to sixth spot.
“Being the oldest pair in the top 10, playing smart (tactically) and with good confidence can make the difference for us, ” said Liu Ying.
“We have rediscovered our confidence just in time to head into the last stage of the season.”
Peng Soon said their performance against Yilyu-Dongping was very reassuring, especially after their previous 10-21,6-21 loss at the Japan Open in July.
“It’s a shame that we could not finish off the match despite being just two points from victory.
“But we can take plenty of positives after giving them a good fight. We could only take 16 points the last time we met them.
“The fact that we could endure a high-intensity match lasting more than 80 minutes, that’s quite pleasing. It proves our fitness is still tip-top, ” he added.
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