All England: Pearly-Thinaah eliminate world number one pair to advance to quarter-finals

KUALA LUMPUR — National top women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah created a sensation at the second round of the All England Badminton Championships 2024 last night when they eliminated the world number one pair from China, Chen Qing Chen-Jia Yi Fan to advance to the quarter-finals.

In the game at the Utilita Arena Birmingham, Pearly-Thinaah, ranked 15th in the world, cleverly seized the opportunity presented by Jia’s injury to seal victory over the Chinese pair in straight sets 22-20, 21-16.

It was the first victory for the country’s pair against the four-time world champion pair after losing in their last five encounters.

The victory should make the perfect birthday gift for Pearly, who celebrated her 24th birthday yesterday, but she refused to be swayed by it, describing the result as possibly influenced by Jia’s injury.

“Yes, we won the match obviously, but this was helped by the fact that Jia was suffering from an injury,” Pearly told the Badminton World Federation (BWF) after the match.

Meanwhile, Thinaah said: “We just reminded ourselves to focus and not care too much about the opponent’s injury. It was all about executing our strategy well and reducing our mistakes,”

Jia suffered an ankle injury after slipping on the court while defeating Taiwanese pair Hsu Ya Ching-Lin Wan Ching in the first round last Wednesday.

“After that match, I wanted to give it a try on the court since I can rest for a night before playing again. I discussed it with my partner and we agreed to try.

“We thought that if this happened at the Olympics we need to prepare for the situation. I wanted to put myself in a situation where even when I’m not fully fit, I could still play and see how they respond. Now we will go back and rest. We can swallow any losses and bounce back before the Olympic Games,” Jia said.

Pearly-Thinaah will face off against the 11th-ranked pair from Japan, Rena Miyaura-Ayako Sakuramoto, in the quarter-final round scheduled for tonight.

Meanwhile, the country’s top men’s doubles pair, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, had no trouble defeating the Taiwanese pair Chang Ko-Chi-Po Li-Wei 21-18, 24-22 in the second round, setting up a match against Muhammad Shohibul Fikri-Bagas Maulana from Indonesia in the quarter-finals.

Unfortunately, luck was not on the country’s mixed doubles pair Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie’s side as they were shown the exit after losing 12-21, 5-21 to the fourth-seeded pair from China, Feng Yan Zhe-Huang Dong Ping. — BERNAMA / pic credit: MEDIA MULIA