Sweet Victory



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SIBU: Shuttler Lai Pei Jing could not hold back the tears after winning her first Open home title with Tan Kian Meng at the second-tier Malaysian Masters.

Yesterday, Pei Jing combined well with Kian Meng to pull off a 21-17, 21-9 win over team-mates Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie in a 36-minute mixed doubles final at the Sibu Indoor Stadium.

The win made up for their failure in the final at the Grand Prix Gold tournament in Penang last year.

The 24-year-old Pei Jing was relieved after winning the title worth US$9,840 (RM43,750).

“I didn’t expect to lift the title here. I’ve been struggling for form,” said Pei Jing before breaking down during the press conference.

“I’ve been in pain over the last few weeks. I struggled to find my rhythm in training, even losing my temper with Kian Meng and my coaches (Chin Ee Hui and Pang Cheh Chang).

“Now that I’ve won the title, the pressure is off me. It’s time to look forward with confidence,” she added.

There was no double joy for Malaysia as Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani ran out of gas in the men’s doubles final. The 19-year-olds squandered a 9-2 lead in the first game to lose 19-21, 12-21 to Indonesian youngsters Berry Angriawan-Hardianto Hardianto.

Said Izzuddin: “We did well to get off to a good start. Unfortunately, we lost focus. The Indonesians caught up and we caved in to pressure. We’ll bounce back stronger from this defeat.”

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long and Indian Saina Nehwal emerged champions in contrasting styles.

Ka Long beat Lee Hyun-il 14-21, 21-15, 10-9 after the South Korean retired with a leg injury in the men’s singles final.

In the women’s singles final, Saina spoiled Thai Pornpawee Chochuwong’s 19th birthday with a hard-fought 22-20, 22-20 win.