PETALING JAYA: Seasoned campaigner Vivian Hoo was the last Malaysian women’s doubles shuttler to feature in the World Tour Finals way back in 2016.
Then, her partner was Woon Khe Wei and now, five years on, the 30-year-old from Kuala Lumpur stands a good chance at securing her second appearance with Yap Cheng Wen.
Their hopes of making the top-eight cut for next week’s Finals received a tremendous boost after they advanced to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open yesterday.
The world No. 25 were in their element as they brushed aside England’s No. 18 Lauren Smith-Chloe Birch 21-14,21-14 at the Impact Arena in Bangkok.
Vivian-Cheng Wen are currently 16th in the World Tour standings, but they head into this week’s event knowing a chance is there for the taking to be one of eight qualifiers.
Five pairs who are ranked above them, two each from China and Japan and another from Bulgaria, lost their eligibility after they withdrew from the Bangkok events.
Then there are the four South Koreans in the top 10, but only their best two get to qualify due to the two pairs per country ruling.
“Minus the seven pairs above us, we’re provisionally ranked ninth, ” said Vivian.
“I think we have a good chance as we trail the No. 8 (Denmark’s Maiken Fruergaard-Sara Thygesen) by a small margin. All we need to do is finish one round better than them this week.
“So for us to win today (yesterday) was a huge relief. Although the result suggested a straightforward win, we were actually playing under pressure because of this extra target (to qualify for Finals).
“But it’s good in a way. At least it gives us the motivation to excel.”
Vivian-Cheng Wen will now keep their fingers crossed that the Danes do not upset fourth seeds Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong of South Korea in today’s first round.
Meanwhile, Vivian-Cheng Wen will face France’s world No. 30 Emillie Lefel-Anne Tran for a place in the quarter-finals tomorrow.
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