KUALA LUMPUR: With a spot in the last eight already assured for the Malaysian women’s team, doubles pair Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah are relishing the prospect of facing top seeds Japan in their opening Group W tie of the Badminton Asia Team Championships today.
“I’m really excited because this is our first major team event,” Pearly said.
“There’s no pressure on us and that’s really good.”
The Asian meet, which begins today in Manila, serves as a qualifier for the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark in May.
Only the top four teams will qualify on merit.
Malaysia were initially drawn with Japan and Hong Kong but, on Monday, Badminton Asia confirmed that China and Hong Kong had withdrawn from the tournament due to the coronavirus outbreak.
As a result, the Malaysian women’s squad find themselves through to the last eight. A win over Japan will see them being seeded for the quarter-finals.
That, however, will be a tough ask as top seeds Japan will be hard to crack.
But Pearly-Thinaah are unfazed.
In fact, the world No 41, want to see how far they have improved after a 10-day training stint in Bangkok with Thailand head coach Rexy Mainaky.
“Training with coach Rexy was like a breath of fresh air.
“Every coach has something new to offer. We also got to train with other top pairs. It will be interesting to put into practice everything we’ve learned,” Pearly added.
The other women’s doubles in the squad include national No 1 Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean and Yap Cheng Wen.
The quarter-final draw will be conducted after all group matches are completed.
Regardless of today’s outcome, the Malaysian women’s team won’t face Japan again in the last eight.