Malaysian doubles pairs Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah and Man Wei Chong-Tee Wai Kun put strong displays in the Malaysia Masters finals but had to settle for second against their South Korean counterparts.
Tan-Thinaah lost 20-22, 21-8, 17-21 against world number six Baek Ha-na-Lee So-hee, while Man-Tee were upstaged 15-21, 24-22, 19-21 by Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae in front of a packed out Axiata Arena.
Tan-Thinaah were first up, and they gave it everything they got in a tense 111-minute final.
The world number 11 were unfortunate not to take the first game after holding a 20-17 lead, which saw the plucky Koreans catching up to win the game in deuce.
Any hopes Baek-Lee had of winning in straight games were quickly extinguished as Tan-Thinaah raced to a 7-1 lead, which set the tone for the 21-8 victory.
Both pairs were neck and neck until 11 points in the third game, but Baek-Lee found that extra willpower after the interval to thwart the Malaysians time and again.
Thinaah’s work ethic was so immense that she needed a time out as their opponents held match point which they converted after that.
In total, Tan-Thinaah played 434 minutes at the Malaysia Masters, which Tan said took a toll on them.
“We lost focus after 11 points, we were not fit enough. We made some silly mistakes. Despite reaching the final, we are not satisfied with this result. We could have been better,” she said.
In the final match of the day, Man-Tee replicated Tan-Thinaah’s efforts as they fought back valiantly to level proceedings after losing the first game.
But the deciding match once again went to South Korea, who stood firm to clinch the win despite getting a yellow and red card from the umpire for time wasting. “It was unfortunate that we couldn’t win, because we were leading in the third game. But it’s over, we will just have to train and come back stronger,” they said.
Other matches saw Thailand’s world number three pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai win the mixed doubles title, while world number one Akane Yamaguchi clinched her third women’s singles crown this year.
H.S.Prannoy meanwhile made history by becoming the first Indian men’s singles shuttler to win this event when he outclassed China’s Weng Hong Yang 21-19, 13-21, 21-18.