A steelier Pearly game for tougher fights

Gigantic feat: Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah in action against South Koreans Jeong Na-eun-Kim Hye-jeong in the Malaysian Masters semi-final match. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

PETALING JAYA: National women’s doubles shuttler Pearly Tan has vowed to turn the adversity she has endured into strength.

This was reflected on Pearly’s heartfelt social media post after she and her playing partner M. Thinaah finished runners-up in the recently concluded Malaysian Masters.

Their route to ending the country’s long home title drought had looked bright after they survived three energy-sapping matches in the second round, quarter-finals and semi-finals against Japan’s Rena Miyaura-Ayako Sakuramoto (21-17, 18-21, 21-19), Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (13-21, 21-19, 21-16) and Jeong Na-eun-Kim Hye-jeong (13-21, 21-19, 21-16) respectively.

Pearly-Thinaah fought hard but ran out of steam in the final after going down 20-22, 21-8, 17-21 to South Korea’s world No. 6 Baek Ha-na-Lee So-hee at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.

The world No. 11 were the first to reach the final of a home tourney (Malaysian Masters and Open) since Datuk Lee Chong Wei clinched the Open title in 2018.

Pearly felt bad for falling short of expectations but has vowed to use it as motivation to come back stronger.

“First of all, I would like to apologise to everyone who had hoped to see us on the highest podium,” posted Pearly on social media.

“We promise to use this experience as fuel to push harder.

“To all of my amazing fans and supporters, I cannot thank you enough for the incredible energy and motivation you brought to us throughout the week.

“Your cheers and support fuelled me throughout every moment, and I want to express my deepest gratitude for being a part of this incredible journey.

“Even though the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, it has only strengthened my determination to come back stronger and, I can’t wait to continue this journey with every one of you again.

“To my amazing coach and all the support staff, your guidance, wisdom and unwavering support were truly invaluable.

“And I want you all to know that we couldn’t have made it this far without you.

“Your dedication and hard work were not unnoticed, and I’m grateful for everything you did to help us achieve our goals. I’m grateful to have my family here, my pillar of strength.

“Even though we live in different cities, you’ve always come all the way from Alor Setar to support me.

“Your presence means everything to me, love you all.

“To my incredible partner, thank you for being an absolute rock this week.

“Your relentless positivity and unwavering support have helped me get through every moment, and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.’’

The runner-up finish indicates that the top national top women’s doubles pair are on the right track to regaining their best form after suffering a confidence crisis and poor form since bagging their first Badminton World Federation (BWF) tour title in the French Open last October.

They crashed out in the first round of the Malaysian Open in January, losing to Bulgaria’s Stoeva sisters Gabriela and Stefani, but redeemed themselves by exacting sweet revenge against the same pair in the Malaysian Masters opener.

Pearly-Thinaah will now shift their focus to the Singapore Open from June 6-11.

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