National badminton doubles players Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan became the first Malaysian women’s pair to win the French Open on Sunday, 30 October
The world number 11 pair created history by defeating Japan’s two-time world champions Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara 21-19, 18-21, 21-15 in a pulsating final.
According to New Straits Times, this was Tan-Thinaah’s first Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 750 title, making it the biggest title win in their career, and their second World Tour title after winning the Swiss Open in 2021.
“No words can describe how we feel and how much this really meant to us, especially after what my partner went through last month. But we kept pushing ourselves and giving our best in every session,” Thinaah wrote in an Instagram post after the win.
Image via Stadium Astro
The Malaysians reached the finals after claiming big wins over Indonesia’s Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadia Ramadhanti in the first round, and another Japanese pair, world number three Chiharu Shida-Nami Matsuyama, in the quarter-finals
They entered the finals in a straight set victory over South Korean pair Baek Ha Na-Lee So Hee in the semi-finals.
According to Stadium Astro, in the finals against Matsumoto-Nagahara, Tan-Thinaah displayed great composure and fighting spirit against their more experienced opponents.
Coach Hoon Thien How also praised the pair’s mental strength after the win.
“It was Pearly-Thinaah’s first World Tour final of the year but mentally they were very strong. This is a really good win for them. Hopefully, they can get even better in tournaments after this,” he said.
Image via @BA_Malaysia (Twitter)
It has been a whirlwind few months for the pair, who clinched a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in August, before being forced to retire at the Japan Open last month due to an injury
However, coming back stronger than ever, Thinaah revealed that they have now also qualified for the BWF World Tour Finals from 14 to 18 December in Guangzhou, China.
The season-ending tournament features only the top eight players or pairs in each discipline.