PETALING JAYA: Mixed doubles specialist Cheah Yee See waited four years for her Sudirman Cup debut and it was well worth it.
The 25-year-old did not squander her moment to shine as she and Hoo Pang Ron inspired Malaysia to a 3-2 win over England in their Group D opener at the Energia Areena in Vantaa, Finland yesterday.
The world No. 27 rose to the occasion to upset No. 7 Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith 21-19, 21-18 in the opening mixed doubles tie and the win turned out to be crucial for Malaysia.
Lee Zii Jia and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, who were next to go into action, did not disappoint as they delivered the points in the men’s singles and men’s doubles.
All-England champion Zii Jia barely broke a sweat with a convincing 21-4, 21-15 win over Johnnie Torjussen while Aaron-Wooi Yik staved off a spirited challenge from up-and-coming duo Sean Vendy-Ben Lane winning 22-20, 21-16 to seal the match.
Had it not for Pang Ron-Yee See’s opening point, the final outcome could have turned out disastrous for Malaysia as S. Kisona and Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah lost in the last two ties.
The world No. 53 Kisona, whose preparation was affected by Covid-19, looked to be still struggling with her fitness as she went down 16-21, 20-22 to world No. 176 Abigail Holden.
Swiss Open champions Pearly-Thinaah also received a wake-up call following their 18-21, 21-17, 10-21 loss to Lauren Smith-Chloe Birch.
For Yee See, it was certainly a day to cherish.
“I’m really happy to be finally making my Sudirman Cup debut. I made the team four years ago in Gold Coast, but I did not make a single appearance,” said Yee See, who at 25, is the oldest member in the 18-member squad.
“It’s always a dream of mine to experience playing in a major team event. And it’s even more satisfying that I managed to play my part in winning the first point.”
However, Yee See said she and Pang Ron are not about to get carried away.
They know one big win would count for nothing unless they are able to maintain their consistency.
In January, the duo stunned Indonesia’s world No. 8 Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Widjaja en route to reaching the semi-finals of the Thailand Open 2, but they suffered an early exit in the next two tournaments – the Swiss Open and All-England.
“I won’t say I’m too happy with this one win. I think there’s a lot of things that we need to improve on. It’s through this big match experience that will help us grow. We need more of such big games, hopefully we will get to play in the coming matches.”
Aaron admitted that Pang Ron-Yee See’s win made a huge impact to the team.
“The match was supposed to be 50-50, but when Pang Ron-Yee See won, it gave us an advantage,” said Aaron.
Malaysia face minnows Egypt today and a win will set them up for a place in the quarter-finals.