TOKYO: In just over two years, women's doubles Pearly Tan-M Thinaah have established themselves as one of the top pairs in the world, and became the latest darlings of Malaysian badminton. And the world No 11's next goal is the world's top five.
BAM doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky said he was already impressed with the duo before he rejoined the national setup late last year.
The Indonesian badminton legend said: "I am very pleased with Pearly-Thinaah right now. They have come a long way in such a short time playing together. I have no doubt that they can eventually be a top five pair in the world.
"I remember telling Hoon (Thien How), who is the women's doubles coach that I was very impressed with Pearly-Thinaah when I first saw them play in the Asian leg of the World Tour in Thailand last year. I was still with the Thai national team back then.
"They were a young pair, and they were very defensive in their game. I knew that together with Hoon, who is very close with the players, that I can help them."
Rexy said a few tweaks to their game have led to the 2021 Swiss Open champions winning gold at the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
He applauded Thinaah's determination to raise her game as a doubles player after making the switch from singles in 2019.
"My hopes and expectations are just the same as Malaysian, to see them go far in their careers.
On Pearly-Thinaah's participation in the World Championships which begins in Tokyo today, Rexy said: "I just want them to enjoy themselves, think of their parents, the fans and the country they represent. This pair can go far."
Pearly-Thinaahm who will open their campaign at the world meet in the second round after receiving a first round bye, are expected to face their first real test in the third round, where they are slated to meet world No 5 Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida of Japan.
The Malaysian duo are then expected to face either world No 4 Kim So Yeong-Kong Hee Yong of South Korea or another Korean pair, world No 10 Jeong Na Eun-Kim Hye Jeong in the last eight.
There is also a possibility of an all Malaysian showdown as national No 2 Teoh Mei Xing-Anna Cheong are also in the top half of the draw.
The other two Malaysian women's doubles in the fray are independents Vivian Hoo-Lim Chiew Sien and debutants Valeree Siow-Low Yeen Yuan.