PETALING JAYA: National back-up shuttlers Chan Peng Soon-Lim Khim Wah nailed their biggest career win in their first appearance as a pair in an international tournament when they defied the odds to reach the final of the Thailand Open in Bangkok yesterday.
The duo stunned third seeds and Malaysian Open runners-up Alven Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan, who are ranked 16th in the world, 24-22, 12-21, 21-18 in a 46-minute match to set up an all-Malaysian final against veterans Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah.
World Championship-bound Tan Fook-Wan Wah fended off strong challenges from youngsters Bodin Isara-Maneepong Jongjit of Thailand before prevailing with a 21-16, 21-18 win.
Khim Wah-Peng Soon, who went separate ways after winning the National Grand Prix Finals in Alor Setar last year, was happy to reach their first-ever international Open final.
“This is our first international tournament together and hopefully our partnership will be maintained after the good showing here,” said Khim Wah in a telephone interview from Bangkok yesterday. “Last year, we were the GP Finals winners but the coaches felt that it was best that we go separate ways. Now, I hope that they will keep us together.”
Before the Thailand Open, Khim Wah was without a regular partner for the men’s doubles event this year.
A delighted Peng Soon said: “I have never gone beyond the quarter-finals in an Open tournament. This really feels great.
“Khim Wah and I can complement each other well and it is our hope that we will continue to move up from here.
“We played a patient game against the Indonesians and did not give them much room to attack. It will be tough against our seniors tomorrow and we hope that we will be at our best.”
Peng Soon also featured in the mixed doubles semi-finals yesterday with Goh Liu Ying and they were beaten 15-21, 15-21 by Thailand’s A. Songphon-V. Kunchala.
Wan Wah was pleased that a young Malaysian pair come through to the final.
“It’s good that they have come this far. They have been playing good badminton thus far in this tournament.
“Their emergence is good for Malaysian badminton. I think we will have a tough time against them tomorrow,” he said.
Another old-timer, Wong Choong Hann, came close to making his first final of the year, going down 8-21, 21-12, 18-21 to the home favourite, Boonsak Ponsana.
The Thailand Open is a Badminton World Federation (BWF) Grand Prix Gold tournament.