Auckland: The New Zealand Open mixed doubles final can be considered as one of Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying most memorable matches, as the World No. 5 Malaysian mixed doubles pair came back from dropping a set to finally convert in their sixth championship point in an 85-minutes marathon battle against No. 5 seeds Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia on Sunday.
The No. 2 seeds Chan/Goh prevailed 21-14 in the first set as the Indonesian pair was struggling to control the net and protecting their back court.
Going into the second game, Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti had the momentum on their side as Praveen Jordan’s powerful smashes started to pierce through Chan/Goh’s defense early in the game, when Goh was clearly the main target of attack from Jordan. The World No. 9 Indonesians quickly widen the gap to 12-5, 14-8. Even though Chan/Goh slowly got used to Jordan’s powerful smashes by gaining some points and reducing the deficit, but Jordan/Oktavianti steadily maintained their lead and claimed the second game 21-16.
The decider was absolutely breathtaking, with Jordan continued to pound with heavy smashes and Oktavianti stated to take tight control at the net, Chan/Goh’s dreams of winning the New Zealand Open appeared to have slowly slipped away as they were behind 13-17.
Goh Liu Ying all of the sudden rediscovered her net strokes, together with Chan’s smashes, the Malaysian paired started to raise their level to score back-to-back points in the contentious third set by drawing level at 17-17.
The Malaysian then bravely saved three championship points at 21-22 (Jordan’s smash found the net), 24-25 (Oktavianti hit an out of bound shot at Chan/Goh’s left back court) and 25-26 (Chan Peng Soon returned a soft mid-court shot that was firmly out of reach for the Indonesian pair), and finally converted with an incredible 29-27 score when Oktavianti failed to return a net shot from Goh Liu Ying in an epic decider game that lasted 45 minutes by itself.
Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying’s New Zealand Open victory was also a great big slap in the face to the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) which has decided to not include the pair in Malaysia’s Sudirman Cup that offered Olympic qualification points.