Favourites Pearly-Thinaah won’t let higher ranking get to their heads in Birmingham

PETALING JAYA: Women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (pic) may be the favourites at the Commonwealth Games based on their world ranking but they will not underestimate their opponents.

World No. 10 Pearly-Thinaah have chosen to be cautious in their debut in Birmingham from July 28-Aug 8 as they know their rivals are no pushovers.

They are likely to face England’s Chloe Birch-Lauren Smith (No. 14), India’s Ashwini Ponnappa-Reddy N. Sikki (No. 23), Scotland’s Julie Macpherson-Ciara Torrance (No. 43) and Singapore’s Jin Yujia-Lim Ming Hui (No. 169).

“Other pairs are quite strong too, so we don’t want to have any expectations yet,” said Thinaah.

“We have to be aware of players from Scotland, India and Singapore. Then, there are others from other countries as well. Our task is to focus on our preparation.”

Despite being ranked higher, Pearly-Thinaah, however, do not have a good playing record against some of them.

They have played against Ashwini-Reddy, Macpherson-Torrance, Yujia-Ming Hui and Chloe-Smith once each but except for the Singaporeans, they have lost to the others in the previous matches.

They lost to the Indian pair in the first round of the 2019 Hyderabad Open and were shocked by the Scottish pair in the first round of this year’s German Open.

They were also beaten by the English pair at the Sudirman Cup in 2019.

They have the upper hand against the Singaporean pair, having beaten them in the second round of the 2019 Malaysia International Series.

Thinaah-Pearly will have two home tournaments before the major event. They will play in next week’s Malaysian Open and Malaysian Masters from July 5-10.

After losing a place in the last eight of the recent Indonesia Open in Jakarta to Japan’s Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota, the duo realised that they lacked fitness and power in their game.

“They were fitter. We need more power in our game to sustain it until the third set of the match,” said Thinaah.

Asked whether there would be more pressure on the women’s doubles in the absence of national No. 1 Lee Jii Zia from the Commonwealth Games squad, Thinaah said: “The pressure to deliver a medal was there, even before Zii Jia withdrew.

“It’s just how you handle the pressure that’s going to make the difference.”

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