EVEN fatigue and some controversies with the umpire could not stop Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah from staying focused and fighting until the end to march into the semi-finals of the Malaysian Masters.
In the quarter-finals yesterday, the world No. 11 survived another gruelling match against Japan’s world No. 9 Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota before prevailing 13-21, 21-19, 21-16 at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Pearly-Thinaah showed amazing fighting spirit in the exhausting match where they had to come from behind to win.
The marathon match lasted 111 minutes.
On Thursday, Pearly-Thinaah also had to dig deep to outplay another Japanese pair Rena Miyaura-Ayako Sakuramoto 21-17, 18-21, 21-19 in the second round.
That match also set a record for the longest rally of 211 shots.
Thinaah said they never gave up fighting despite feeling tired in the last-eight tie yesterday.
“We didn’t want to give up until the end because we just wanted to give our best and enjoy every point that we play,” said Thinaah.
“Those were the elements that kept us going throughout the game.”
Furthermore, it was a rocky match for Pearly-Thinaah as they had to deal with some controversial decisions by Serbian umpire Alexander Olennikov in the second and third games.
Thinaah celebrated by dropping her racquet to the ground after winning a crucial point in the second game and was cautioned by Olennikov.
In the third game, Olennikov decided to stop the match during the long rally, when the Japanese pair were leading 12-11.
“I felt very tired but we could not do anything other than follow the umpire’s decision and stop the rally,” said Pearly.
“I think I’m still not fit enough, I felt very tired and couldn’t even stand stably on the court.
“But I didn’t want to disappoint my partner, who covered so much for me, my coaches and family, who were present to watch the match, so I just told myself to stay strong and fight until the end.”
Meanwhile, national doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky questioned the controversial decisions made by Olennikov. “I questioned the umpire who reprimanded Thinaah when she dropped her racquet as it was not a misconduct,” said Rexy.
“In the second controversy, the umpire stopped play during a long rally because he saw the Japanese coach disrupting play by talking to the players.
“I got up and complained to the umpire but to no avail. This is the first time I have come across such an incident.”
Pearly-Thinaah will face Jeong Na-eun-Kim Hye-jeong of Korea in the semi-final today.