PETALING JAYA: Veteran mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying may be past their prime, but it’s not going to stop them from being ambitious.
The 33-year-old Peng Soon, buoyed by the quarter-final run at the Indonesian Open last week, believes they will survive the World Tour Finals group stage which starts in Bali tomorrow.
They are aiming to emulate their previous best, a semi-final outing in the 2013 edition in Kuala Lumpur (then known as Superseries Finals).
Thailand’s world No. 2 and defending champions Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai and No. 4 Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino of Japan should start as the favourites.
In their paths will be Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen-Alexandra Boje, England’s Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith, Malaysia’s Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing, Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet and Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan-Melati Oktavianti.
The draw for the five events will be made today with all eight finalists being divided into two groups. The top-two finishers from the groups advance to the knockout stage.“Although we’re not among the favourites, we still want to go out there and give our higher-ranked and younger rivals a run for their money,” said Peng Soon.
“The ultimate goal is to reach the semis. I believe we stand a chance.”
Peng Soon-Liu Ying are convinced that they have finally been able to put the difficult spell behind them following a solid performance last week.
The duo have been struggling with inconsistency upon returning to the World Tour last month.
Although they made the last eight of the French Open, they were shown the exits in the opening rounds at the Denmark Open, Hylo Open and Indonesian Masters.
“Compared to our previous outings, I think we performed way better last week,” said Peng Soon.
“We didn’t prepare well after the Olympics. Quarantine, lockdown... all these disrupted our plans. But back on tour, we’re able to train smoothly as we compete.”
The other Malaysian qualifiers are Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles); Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (men’s doubles) and Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (women’s doubles).
By qualifying for the lucrative US$1.5mil (RM6.35mil) Finals, all singles finalists are assured of US$9,000 (RM38,100) while the doubles pocket US$10,500 (RM44,500).
But they will not settle for less when they stand to take home US$120,000 (RM508,600) and US$126,000 (RM534,100) for singles and doubles winners respectively.
Men’s singles: 1. Viktor Axelsen (Den), 2. Lee Zii Jia, 3. K. Srikanth (Ind), 4. Rasmus Gemke (Den), 5. Toma Junior Popov (Fra), 6. Lakhsya Sen (Ind), 7. Kento Momota (Jpn), 8. Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Tha).
Men’s doubles: 1. Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya (Ina), 2. Takuro Hoki-nYugo Kobayashi (Jpn), 3. Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Den), 4. Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (Mas), 5. Christo Popov-Toma Junior Popov (Fra), 6. Pramudya Kusumawardana-Yeremia Rambitan (Ina), 7. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind), 8. Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin (Tpe).
Women’s singles: 1. Pornpawee Chochuwong (Tha), 2. Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn), 3. P.V. Sindhu (Ind), 4. Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Tha), 5. An Se-young (Kor), 6. Line Christophersen (Den), 7. Yeo Jia Min (Sin), 8. Yvonne Li (Ger).
Women’s doubles: 1. Jongkolphan Kittitharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai (Tha), 2. Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida (Jpn), 3. Gabriela Stoeva-Stefani Stoeva (Bul), 4. Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong (Kor), 5. Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (Mas), 6. Chloe Birch-Lauren Smith (Eng), 7. Ashwini Ponnapa-N. Sikki Reddy (Ind), 8. Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu (Ina).
Mixed doubles: 1. Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino (Jpn), 2. Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha), 3. Mathias Christiansen-Alexandra Boje (Den), 4. Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith (Eng), 5. Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (Mas), 6. Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (Mas), 7. Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (Hkg), 8. Praveen Jordan-Melati Oktavianti (Ina).