IT was a final match too far for Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah.
The national women’s doubles pair had given so much throughout the Malaysian Masters but they could not crown their fine run with the title.
After coming out on top in three energy-sapping matches in the second round, quarter-finals and semi-finals, world No. 11 Pearly-Thinaah finally ran out of steam when they went down fighting 20-22, 21-8, 17-21 to South Korea’s world No. 6 Baek Ha-na-Lee So-hee in a titanic final battle at the Axiata Arena yesterday.
Pearly-Thinaah led 20-17 in the first game and should have won but squandered their game points.
In the second game, the home pair came out firing to lead 11-4 and wrapped up the game to force a decider.
In the third game, Pearly-Thinaah worked hard but found it hard to breach German Open champions Ha-na-So-hee’s brick-like defence.
The Malaysians were also starting to tire and the Koreans took full advantage to win.
Thinaah, who had to get medical attention at 16-20 due to sheer exhaustion, was left in tears after the defeat.
“Thinaah felt like vomiting due to exhaustion and needed some time to rest,” said Pearly, who could barely contain her tears as well.
“But this was not the cause of our defeat as it was already the last point.
“In the first game, we had opportunities to win but we wanted to win so badly that we could not convert our chances.
“After the mid-game interval in the third game, we lost focus a bit and made a few silly mistakes as we started to get tired.
“We need to learn from this and improve in the next tournaments.”
On her overall performance with Thinaah in the tournament, Pearly said: “There were a lot of ups and downs for us this year and this (finishing runners-up) is a good start for us.
“In terms of fitness, this is an improvement as previously, we will be too tired after playing many long rallies in one match.
“But this time, we were mentally stronger and managed to withstand the pressure until the final.
“I’m still not satisfied as I feel we can still do better than this.”
Pearly-Thinaah will next turn their attentions to the Singapore Open from June 6-11.