Pearly-Thinaah aim to be among world's best again

KUALA LUMPUR: Fresh from a five-week break, women's pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah are determined to rediscover their mojo and work their way back up to elite status once again.

Pearly and Thinaah lived up to their status as the second seeds by triumphing 21-17, 21-11 over India's Simran Singhi-Ritika Thaker in the second round of the Malaysia Masters at Axiata Arena today.

It was the world No. 13 pair's first match of the tournament after receiving a bye in the opening round.

Pearly-Thinaah should progress to the semi-finals by beating their next opponents, Setyana Mapasa-Angela Yu of Australia, putting them a step closer to a second consecutive final.

The Paris Olympics-bound Setyana and Angela are also through after defeating Malaysia's Go Pei Kee-Low Yeen Yuan 21-8, 21-11.

"We're happy with this win; it's been a while since we played a competitive match, the last being during the Asia Championships (which they lost in the first round)," said Thinaah.

"We've made the most of the time away from competition, working on a few areas like rotation and communication."

With most of the top pairs opting to skip this week's event, it presents Pearly-Thinaah with a great opportunity to revive their fortunes with a title win.

Japan's World No. 12 Rin Iwanaga-Kie Nakanishi are the only pair ranked higher than them.

However, Thinaah said some of the other competitors ranked below them are no pushovers.

"We're not underestimating anyone here. Without taking their ranking into account, most of them are good pairs and have plenty of experience under their belt," said Thinaah.

Pearly thinks she and Thinaah have some catching-up to do before they can be called one of the world's best again.

"I think we've not been playing at that elite level recently," said Pearly.

"Everyone wants to win a title; we're no exception but we have to focus one step at a time and trust the process."

At their peak, Pearly-Thinaah were ranked as high as world No. 5, and able to defeat top-ranked opponents from Japan, South Korea and China, a feat that's rare for any Malaysian women's pair in the past.

However, their momentum has been halted largely due to Pearly's tendency to get injured in the past 18 months.

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