Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei achieved arguably their biggest success as a pair after the Malaysians captured the Korea Open mixed doubles title with a 21-15, 21-18 triumph over South Korea’s Ko Sung-hyun-Eom Hye-won in the final.
The world number 10 were impeccable in this Super 500 event, winning all their matches in fairly comfortable straight games fashion since receiving a bye in the first round.
The 50-minute victory was also a testament to the consistency the pair showed throughout this year, winning 11 of their 15 matches.
It was Ko-Eom who stated their intent early on in front of a strong home support, taking the game to the Malaysians for an 11-7 lead in the first game.
But Tan-Lai rallied back ferociously after the interval, racking up 14 points for a 21-15 win and the lead.
They continued in the same vein in the second game, with Tan working hard at the back court to dictate the tempo and probing Ko-Eom for mistakes, finding numerous winners in the process.
But Lai was also sensational as how she’d been throughout the tournament, producing deft touches on the front court to unsettle the South Koreans.
Their chemistry was a telling factor in their victory compared to Ko-Eom, who at times were left scrambling out of position.
The victory meant Tan-Lai beat their opponents for the third consecutive time, and this time the reward was a cool US$28,440 (RM120,059) as champions.
Their success also added another title to the national contingent's representation on the BWF World Tour circuit.
Tee Kai Mun-Man Wei Chong won the Syed Modi International in January, before Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin clinched the German Open title last month.
Rising women’s singles shuttler An Se-young did not disappoint in front of her home crowd after a powerful performance to beat Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-17, 21-18.
In the men’s singles, Weng Hong Yang delivered the biggest upset of the final as the little known Chinese stunned Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie 12-21, 21-19, 21-15 in a 77-minute contest.
South Korea also triumphed in the women’s and men’s doubles categories, with Jeong Na-eun-Kim Hye-jeong and Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae winning respectively.