Nanjing: Malaysia’s World No. 21 mixed doubles pair, Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing who have suffered six first-round exits thus far this year (German Open, All England, Asia Championships, Malaysia Open, Indonesia Open and Thailand Open) have finally gotten their chemistry right on Monday when they defeated Liao Min Chun/Chen Hsiao Huan of Taiwan in the first round of World Championships in Nanjing.Tan/Goh who have been trying to find their way out of a form slump, needed only 34 minutes to win in straight-sets 21-16, 21-15 to set up a second round fight against Thai pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai on Tuesday. The tenth seeded Puavaranukroh/Taerattanachai got a bye in the first round.
The Malaysian pair had defeated the Thai pair in the semi-finals of the 2016 Thailand Open, before they were beaten by Puavaranukroh/Taerattanachai in the 2017 Singapore Open semi-finals.
“In today’s match against the Taiwanese pair, they were playing well. More importantly, we have changed our techniques, putting more focus on strategy and game plan,” said Lai.
“Although this was not one of our best games and we were still far away from our best, but were able to adjust to the wind and light conditions and were able to pick put the victory,” added Lai.
Meanwhile, in women’s competition, Soniia Cheah came out strong in her maiden World Championships appearance, winning her opener 21-13, 21-12 against Gayle Mahulette (Netherlands).
“I was able to control the drift today, I believe my chances in the tournaments remain wide open,” said Cheah.
“As for now, I’ll just play my best and take one match at a time, and I also hoping for a breakthrough,” added Cheah.
Cheah will be meeting the No. 15 seed Sayako Sato of Japan on Tuesday.
In addition to Cheah, another Malaysian women’s singles player, Goh Jin Wei, also advanced to the World Championships second round by outlasting Taiwan’s Pai Yu Po 21-8, 21-15 to book a second round meeting with Aya Ohori from Japan next.