Fighting fit Pearly-Thinaah ready to go the distance

Ready to go: Women's doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah training at the Axiata Arena yesterday—LOW BOON TAT/THE STAR

KUALA LUMPUR: Women’s doubles shuttlers Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah are bracing themselves for long duels in the Malaysian Masters again.

A year ago, Pearly-Thinaah caught the eye with their tremendous fighting spirit and determination in withstanding lengthy rallies in matches en route to reaching the final of the home event.

The pair eventually went down in three close games against South Korea’s world No. 2 Baek Ha-na-Lee So-hee in the title match but won the hearts of the fans in the Axiata Arena with their battling show.

This time, world No. 14 Pearly-Thinaah are preparing for another exhausting tournament when the action begins tomorrow.

“We cannot predict much on how the matches are going to be this time,” said Thinaah after a training session at the Axiata Arena yesterday.

“Whatever it is, we have to prepare ourselves for the worst.”

Pearly said: “The women’s doubles competition is quite tough now.

“All the top pairs are quite consistent. We want to focus on ourselves and play our best.”

Pearly-Thinaah are looking forward to returning to competitive action after last playing in the Asian Championships last month in Ningbo, China.

The duo went down in three games to Japan’s two-time former champions Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara in the first round in the Asian meet.

Pearly-Thinaah were then left out of the Uber Cup Finals team earlier this month to allow them to focus on their preparations for the Paris Olympics in July.

“We had more time to focus on training over the past month and now we are looking forward to competing again,” said Pearly.

“Competing in front of the home fans always gives us extra motivation.

‘‘We love the atmosphere in this stadium.

“We have been preparing well, so let’s see how it goes here.”

In the Malaysian tourney, the pair are seeded second only behind Japan’s world No. 12 Rin Iwanaga-Kie Nakanishi and have a great opportunity to capture the title in the absence of the world’s top 10 pairs.

Pearly-Thinaah last stood on the highest podium in the 2022 French Open.

They last reached a final in the Hong Kong Open last September where they came second to Indonesia’s Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadia Ramadhanti.

Pearly-Thinaah will open their campaign at home tomorrow against Thailand’s Pichamon Phatcharaphisutsin-Nannapas Sukklad.

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