By Balqis Asrof
PETALING JAYA, 11 April 2022: Hardship has brought out the best in Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing.
The independent shuttlers were ecstatic after winning their first title in five years when they played superbly in the Korean Open mixed doubles final to beat home pair Ko Sung Hyun-Eom Hye-won 21-15, 21-18 in 50 minutes in Suncheon City yesterday, according to The Star report.
It was their first title after turning pro as they last won the 2017 Malaysian Masters under the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) banner.
Kian Meng said the struggles he went through with Pei Jing since leaving their comfort zone at the national team last year, have made them stronger.
“It’s hard to express how important this win is for Pei Jing and I,” said Kian Meng.
“It has been so difficult to move around as an independent pair during COVID-19. Everything is so expensive – the flight tickets, hotel, tests and there were other challenges.
“That’s why winning this title means so much to us although it’s not one of the biggest tournaments. We value it very much and I’ve waited for this title for a long time.
“It’s a good start and we look forward to more breakthroughs. I just want to thank all the fans and sponsors for their support.
Yesterday’s win was Kian Meng-Pei Jing’s third straight win over the Koreans after also tasting victory against them in the quarter-finals of the Indonesia Masters (2020) and the second round of last year’s Denmark Open.
And for Pei Jing, it was also more memorable.
“I feel incredibly happy. There are just no words to describe this,” said an ecstatic Pei Jing.
“It was a 50-50 match. Although we have won twice previously, our matches have always been close. This time they also had home advantage. But we just kept our focus and believed in ourselves,” added the 29-year-old.
The Koreans made it difficult in the second game when they refused to give up and saved four match points.
“At that time, we told ourselves that we still had a two-point lead.
‘‘We focused on the game plan instead of on winning the match,” revealed Pei Jing, who could be seen encouraging her partner after every few rallies.
“This is like a dream come true for me. We have waited so long for this. Becoming champions has really given us a confidence boost,” added Pei Jing.
Meanwhile, China showed they have new stars in the making when 22-year-old and world No. 148 Weng Hongyang continued with his impressive run to upstage Jonatan Christie of Indonesia 12-21, 21-19, 21-15 to lift the men’s singles title.
Men’s singles: Weng Hongyang (Chn) bt Jonatan Christie (Ina) 12-21, 21-19, 21-15.
Men’s doubles: Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae (Kor) bt Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto (Ina) 19-21, 21-15, 21-18.
Women’s singles: An Se-young (Kor) bt Pornpawee Chochuwong (Tha) 21-17, 21-18.
Women’s doubles: Jeong Na-eun-Kim Hye-jeong (Kor) bt Banyapa Aimsaard-Nuntakarn Aimsaard (Tha) 21-16, 21-12.
Mixed doubles: Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (Mas) bt pair Ko Sung Hyun-Eom Hye-won 21-15, 21-18.
Source: The Star
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