Pearly-Thinaah know rivals don't fear them but they hope to change it

Solid duo: Malaysia women’s doubles shuttlers Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah in action against India’s Simran Singhi-Ritika Thaker during the second round of Malaysian Masters at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil on Thursday. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: National women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah have yet to see themselves as a formidable force that could strike fear in their opponents.

The world No. 13 Pearly-Thinaah reached their peak form in 2022, securing gold medals in both the Commonwealth Games and French Open.

Their consistent performance propelled them to fifth spot in the world rankings by January of the following year.

However, their performance has been inconsistent since then, largely due to Pearly’s injuries.

Their best achievement since then was finishing runners-up in the Malaysian Masters last January and Hong Kong Open (last September).

Pearly-Thinaah humbly admitted that they have not yet reached a level where opponents would feel intimidated by them, but they are hoping to reach that level in the future.

"Those were not our best performances in the past tournaments and there’s a lot that we need to improve," said the 24-year-old Pearly.

"Considering our current performance and ranking, we have not reached the level where our names could intimidate other pairs, but we’re looking forward to be there in the future."

On Thursday, Pearly-Thinaah booked their spots in the quarter-finals of the Malaysian Masters after beating India’s world No. 60 Simran Singhi-Ritika Thaker 21-17, 21-11 in the second round at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.

It was their first match in the home tourney after receiving a walkover from Thailand’s Pichamon Phatcharaphisutsin-Nannapas Sukklad in the opening round.

Pearly-Thinaah entered this competition with excitement as they were out of action since the Asia Championships last month.

"We were excited to play in this tournament because we haven’t played in a while," said the 26-year-old Thinaah.

"In the first game, we were quite slow in finding our rhythm but in the second, we managed to increase our speed and quickly regained momentum after communicating with each other and our coaches.

"We’re happy with this win.

"We’ve been trying new things on the court – rotation and communication – and hopefully, we can keep improving in the coming games."

Pearly-Thinaah will next face Australia’s world No. 30 Setyana Mapasa-Angela Yu in the last eight and should make it to the semis.

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