All England: Malaysian Duo Storm Past Fourth Seeds

Still riding high with the thrill of their YONEX Swiss Open win, Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan rode into the second round of the YONEX All England at the expense of fourth seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.

It’s their first All England and the excitement was palpable.

“It was quite a surprise and an unexpected win for us. We have strong belief in each other and we communicated well on court and played the rotation well. We are excited to be here as this is our first All England. To win our first match was a big thing for us,” said Tan.

The Thais nearly snatched the second game from the Malaysians after climbing back from a 14-19 deficit to lead 21-20. Tan and Muralitharan stayed on the offensive to keep the pressure on the Thais and grab their place in the second round, where they face England’s Jessica Hopton and Jenny Moore.

“We’ve always wanted to be here. The All England is one of the major tournaments and it’s exciting for us,” said Muralitharan.

This has been a dream year for the Malaysians so far. They made the quarterfinals of the YONEX Thailand Open and the TOYOTA Thailand Open before capturing the Swiss Open, their first World Tour Super 300 title.

The Malaysians scored two big wins on the way to the title in Switzerland – they overcame senior compatriots Chow Mei Kuan/Lee Meng Yean in the semifinals and Stefani Stoeva/Gabriela Stoeva in the final.

“We didn’t think too much before the game,” recalled Muralitharan, on their semifinal against Chow/Lee. “They are our seniors and higher-ranked, so that didn’t put pressure on us.”

As for the final, the upset over the Stoeva sisters means that the Malaysians have now stepped into a different league.

“That was an unexpected win for us as they (Stoevas) are more experienced. We’d never played them before. The main thing was the confidence we had in each other, because doubles is not a one-person thing.”

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