Pearly-Thinaah face tough hurdle in the Malaysia Open

KUALA LUMPUR: Women's doubles Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah will need to replicate at least their valiant Malaysia Masters performance in May if they are to go far at the Malaysia Open next month.

The world No. 12 could not have asked for a more intimidating draw after being grouped together with three Chinese pair in the same quarter of the Super 1000 tournament at Axiata Arena, Bukit Jalil from Jan 9-14.

Pearly-Thinaah will open their tricky campaign against world No. 8 Liu Sheng Shu-Tan Ning, and a potential clash against world No. 1 and defending champions Chen Qing Chen-Jia Yi Fan await them if they reach the quarter-finals.

Pearly-Thinaah will be eager to use the home Open to get the year off to a good start as they seek to revive their dwindling fortunes in the latter part of 2023 after having their good momentum hampered by injury.

They failed to end the season with a title for the first time in three seasons but managed to reach two finals, including the Malaysia Masters, where they delivered a memorable performance for the sold-out crowd at the Axiata Arena.

That's exactly what Pearly-Thinaah will have to pull off for them to advance from the first round.

The Malaysians may have beaten Sheng Shu-Tan Ning in both of their previous encounters, but the Chinese duo is definitely tough to crack given their results this year, reaching seven finals and winning four of them, notably the French Open.

Should Pearly-Thinaah clear their first hurdle, they could find themselves up against world No. 26 Li Yi Jing-Luo Xu Min.

Despite being a lesser-known pair, the Chinese shuttlers are always capable of rising to the occasion, and Pearly-Thinaah should tread with caution.

As things stand, Pearly-Thinaah should be a shoo-in for the Paris Olympics as they have provisionally qualified for the top-16 cut in ninth place in the Race to Paris standings.

But it's still imperative for Pearly-Thinaah to start producing good results and make a push for a return to the top eight to secure seeding for tournaments and avoid facing formidable opponents in the early stages.

The two-time World Tour winners were once ranked as high as No. 5 in February.

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories