National No.1 women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah created history by winning the French Open at the Stade Pierre de Coubertine in Paris last night.
They defeated two-time world champions from Japan Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara 21-19, 18-21 21-15 in a pulsating final, making them the first Malaysian women’s pair to win the French Open.
It was their second championship title and the biggest success of the world number 11 pair in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour series after winning the Swiss Open in March last year.
The match that lasted for 72 minutes was the first between the two pairs.
In the first set, Pearly-Thinaah started slowly but soon got on their way to hold a 18-10 lead. However, they faced anxious moments when the Japanese pair caught up to 20-19 before they got the winning point.
Pearly-Thinaah, however, failed to capitalise on the first set win, and despite their best to keep pace, failed to check a resurgent Matsumoto-Nagahara who took the second set 21-18 in 20 minutes.
The Malaysian pair once again got off to a slow start in the rubber tie after trailing 2-6, but then found their rhythm and competitive spirit to take a 8-7 lead before going on to clinch the title with a 21-15 win.
The closest a Malaysian women’s doubles pair got to the French Open title was in 2008 when Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui emerged as runners-up.
Meanwhile, World No 1, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark won the men’s singles title after defeating compatriot Rasmus Gemke 21-14, 21-15. — BERNAMA