PETALING JAYA: Pressure? What pressure?
M. Thinaah and Pearly Tan (pic) are not breaking down in cold sweat. In fact, they are all fired up to live up to the fans’ expectations as they lead the nation’s charge as the No. 1 women’s doubles pair in the Sudirman Cup.
The world No. 19 may hold the key to Malaysia’s “must-win” Group D opener against England in Vantaa today.
Malaysia are heavily dependent on Lee Zii Jia and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik to secure two points in the men’s singles and doubles and the best chance to steal another point is in the women’s doubles.
Thinaah-Pearly will likely play against world No. 14 and European Championships silver medallists Lauren Smith-Chloe Birch.
“There’s no pressure. All we need to do is bring our A-game and enjoy the moment too as this is our first major team competition,” said Thinaah.
The duo are hoping to pick up where they had left off since making their All-England debut in March with a creditable quarter-final outing.
They also impressed in three other tournaments when they reached the quarter-finals of two Thailand Opens in January and lifted their maiden World Tour title at the Swiss Open.
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 gave a promising display in their quarter-final defeat to Japan’s world No. 11 Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida at the All-England, where they lost 12-21, 22-20 in a one-hour battle to show that they could match the world’s best.
Thinaah believes the six-month interval was well spent in training and she can’t wait to reap the fruits of their hard work.
“We brushed up on our court communication and attacking skills. We are also learning to be patient. These are all important elements to be a solid pair,” added Thinaah.