PETALING JAYA: Fast-rising pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah will fancy a shot at pulling off another giant-killing act in their Malaysian Open debut from May 25-30.
The world No. 19 are among the top performers this year after they made it to at least the quarter-finals in all four tournaments they competed in thus far, with the highlight being their maiden World Tour title, the Swiss Open.
It wouldn’t be possible to achieve these feats without overcoming top-ranked opponents along the way.
And during their time together, the pair had accumulated some prized scalps. They had beaten two world top 10 pairs – Thailand’s No. 8 Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai in the first round of the All-England and No. 9 Chang Ye-na-Kim Hye-rin of South Korea in their Thailand Open II opener.
Pearly-Thinaah also put up a promising display in their quarter-final defeat to Japan’s world No. 11 Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida, where they lost the one-hour battle 12-21,22-20, suggesting they do have the game to match the world’s best.
The young pair will be eager to keep their momentum when they return at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil in three weeks’ time.
However, the odds are heavily stacked against them to reach their fifth successive quarter-finals after they were given a tough draw.
But Pearly-Thinaah should comfortably overcome France’s Emellie Lefel-Anne Tran to set up a last 16 clash with world No. 3 Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan of China. It will be their toughest test as they have yet to play against any of the world’s top five.
World No. 11 Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean and newly-formed independent pair Vivian Hoo-Lim Chiew Sien are the other two home representatives.
Mei Kuan-Meng Yean face England’s Chloe Birch-Lauren Smith in the opener while Vivian-Chiew Sien take on Denmark’s Alexandra Boje-Mette Poulsen.
World No. 7 Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying will lead the nation’s challenge to end a 58-year drought in the mixed doubles.
They came close with runners-up finishes in 2013 and 2016. Peng Soon-Liu Ying have a clear path to the quarter-finals where they could cross path with Indonesia’s world No. 4 Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti.
World No. 11 Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing will face compatriot Arif Abdul Latif, who is making a comeback with his Indonesian wife, Rusydina Riodingin.
Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See and Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei will aim to step out of their senior shadows with a worthy performance on home soil.
Malaysia is represented by world No. 33 Soniia Cheah in the women’s singles. She will find it tough to beat world No. 9 China’s He Bingjiao.