Pearly-Thinaah miss chance to win title but can rise again in Hangzhou

Slippery when wet: Pearly Tan (right) and M. Thinaah slip on the court during the Hong Kong Open final against Indonesia’s Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadia Ramadhanti. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: National women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah let slip a golden opportunity to capture their first title of the year after going down in the Hong Kong Open final.

And the slippery floor at the Hong Kong Coliseum in Kowloon did not help them either.

Yesterday, world No. 10 Pearly-Thinaah went down 21-14, 22-24, 9-21 to Indonesia’s world No. 8 Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadia Ramadhanti in a gruelling 73-minute duel.

Pearly-Thinaah held a 12-8 lead in the second game but the world championships silver medal winners demonstrated their resilience by mounting a strong comeback to tie the score at 13-13.

It was neck-and-neck from then on but it was the Indonesian duo who were more composed to score two points at 22-22 to force the match into a decider.

Indonesia powered their way ahead from the start in the rubber game while everything fell apart for the Malaysians as Thinaah required medical attention while Pearly slipped and sustained a minor leg injury.

And it did not take long before Apriyani-Siti wrapped up the game in their favour.

It was the Indonesian duo’s second title after emerging as the Asian champions early this year.

Despite having to settle for another silver, national doubles coach Hoon Thien How was pleased with the duo’s performance and was relieved that their injuries turned out to be only a minor setback.

“I’m happy with their overall performance,” said Thien How.

“Everyone enters the competition with a winning mindset, but what we can do now is go back, work harder to improve on certain aspects and focus on the next tournament.

“Their injuries were not serious and their legs are okay ... it’s just that the court here was slippery.”

Pearly-Thinaah can give themselves a pat on the back for their determination and unwavering fighting spirit, which paved the way for their second final appearance in the World Tour circuit this year.

They finished as runners-up in the Malaysian Masters in May.

Pearly-Thinaah will now turn their attention to the Hangzhou Asian Games from Sept 23-Oct 8, where they will be playing in the individual event.

Malaysia are not taking part in the women’s team event.

“It’s just a short time before the Asiad, we will prepare them to be ready,” said Thien How.

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