KUALA LUMPUR: Despite enjoying eight wins out of nine matches against national top women’s doubles pair, Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah, world number three duo, Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida have always approached the Malaysians with caution.
Shida said they however enjoyed the challenge put up by Pearly-Thinaah in the court.
“Even though their style is highly unpredictable, we really enjoy our encounters every time,” Shida told Bernama through a translator when met at the Malaysia Masters 2023 here, today.
The two pairs first met in Badminton Asia Team Championships 2020 when Matsuyama-Shida had to dig deep to overcome Pearly-Thinaah in rubber sets, 21-15, 18-21, 21-16.
Pearly-Thinaah’s only victory against the Japanese came during the quarter-finals of the French Open 2022, in 15-21, 21-14, 21-14 en route to create history by becoming the first Malaysian women’s pair to clinch the title since the tournament was introduced in 1908.
Pearly-Thinaah secured the French Open title when they prevailed against another Japan’s duo, Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara, 21-19, 18-21, 21-15 in the final held in Stade Pierre De Coubertin, Paris, last October.
Earlier, Matsuyama-Shida advanced to the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Masters in Axiata Arena after they got the better of Li Wen Mei-Liu Xuan Xuan of China in 21-16, 21-12.
Matsuyama-Shida will have a chance to meet their compatriots in the last eight tomorrow should Rin Iwanaga-Kie Nakanishi beat South Korean pair, Baek Ha Na-Lee So Hee, in the other second round tie.
Meanwhile, Shida said they will treat every challenge with caution in Malaysia Masters despite finishing as runners-up in the last edition after losing to China’s Cheng Qing Chen-Jia Yi Fan, 11-21, 12-21 in the final.
On the other hand, Matsuyama hopes to get a podium finish in the upcoming Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Championships 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark from Aug 21 to 27.
“We don’t have any idea how many world championships that we will play together but we hope to grab at least a medal in the tournament,” she said.
Matsuyama-Shida have not won a medal in the world championships as their best achievement in the prestigious tournament was having qualified for the quarter-finals twice which was in their debut in 2021 and in the 2022 edition. - Bernama