KUALA LUMPUR: Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah are just one win away from becoming the first Malaysian duo to capture a historic medal in women's doubles at the World Championships.
However, can the World No. 11 defy the odds? Standing in their way are world No. 6 Zheng Yu-Zhang Shu Xian of China who have beaten Pearly-Thinaah in all their past three encounters.
Pearly-Thinaah's most recent loss to the Chinese pair was three weeks ago in the Australian Open first round.
Yet, national doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky remains optimistic about their chances.
His confidence was bolstered when he saw Pearly-Thinaah secure a stunning 21-14, 22-20 victory over two-time world champions Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara in the last 16 on Thursday.
The defeat saw Mayu-Wakana finish empty-handed for the first time since 2018. They had won bronze in
2021 and last year.
"I've always believed that they can overcome any challenge if they truly demonstrate their character and hunger for victory," Rexy remarked.
"Today, I witnessed that spirit in them. I hope they can carry this momentum into their next match against the Chinese duo. While the past encounters have favoured the Chinese, I've told them to give their all. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain."
Another win will assure Pearly-Thinaah of at least a bronze, making them the first Malaysian pair to accomplish the feat since the World Championship's inception in 1977.
The last Malaysian pair to have come close were Amelia Anscelly-Soong Fie Cho in 2015. The others who reached the quarter-finals were Lim Pek Siah-Chor Hooi Yee (Glasgow 1997) and Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty (Anaheim 2005, Madrid 2006 and Kuala Lumpur 2007).