5-year wait ends in Suncheon

Winning their first World Tour title was all blood, sweat and tears for independent mixed doubles Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing.

Yesterday, the world No 10 Malaysians ended their five-year title drought when they came out tops at the Korea Open in Suncheon, following a 21-15, 21-18 win over local pair and sixth seeds Ko Sung Hyun-Eom Hye Won in the final.

Kian Meng-Pei Jing, who last tasted success at the 2017 Malaysia Masters, are the only Malaysians after Lee Chong Wei (2010, 2012, 2013) to win the Korea Open.

Apart from thanking the Malaysian fans who showed up at the Palma Stadium, Kian Meng-Pei Jing noted that they could not have come this far without the support of their sponsors.

“None of this would have been possible without our sponsors, who have stood by us through thick and thin.

“As independent players, it’s really difficult to commit because it costs a lot of money to play in tournaments outside of Malaysia.

“Thankfully, with our sponsors, we get the opportunity to realise our dreams.

“I want to thank and dedicate this victory to Victor, KLK, Tiong Nam, and Kanger for everything they have done for us,” said Pei Jing, who confirmed that she will not be playing in this week’s Korea Masters in Gwanju.

Kian Meng said it was coach Chin Eei Hui’s advice during the first game interval that turned things around as they were trailing 11-7.

“Eei Hui told us to change our game, and that made the difference because we started winning back-to-back points.

“I also want to thank Pei Jing for being brilliant throughout the week, so much so that we did not even drop a game.

“We will not compete in the mixed doubles event at the Korea Masters this week because Pei Jing needs a break.

“However, I will compete in the men’s doubles event with Tan Wee Kiong as we need to collect ranking points,” added Kian Meng.

Kian Meng-Pei Jing, who have reached the quarter-finals at least in all tournaments this season, will next play the Asia Championships in Manila on April 26-May 1.

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