By winning the French Open, the top national women’s badminton doubles team Pearly Tan-M Thinaah made history by becoming the first women’s national team to achieve so since the tournament’s beginning in 1908.
In a tense final tonight in Paris, the world No. 11 pair upset Japan’s Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara 21-19, 18-21, 21-15.
The Malaysian duo got off to a shaky start, dropping three straight points, but they soon found their footing and went into the break up 11-8. As they jumped off to an 18-12 advantage, they never really gave the Japanese pair much of a chance.
The Japanese team rallied and closed the gap, but the Malaysians won the first game 21-19 in just 16 minutes.
Matsumoto-Nagahara won the second game 21-18 in 20 minutes to force a rubber.
The Malaysians had a rocky start when their opponents jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but Pearly and Thinaah came back to tie the game at 6-6 in the opening ten minutes. The Malaysians took the lead at 11-8 during the changeover in the point-for-point contest.
They then surged ahead with assured play to take the lead at 18-12, but the Japanese team came back to score three points in a row. The Malaysians eventually won the game and the match, 21-15, though.
With their triumph tonight, Pearly and Thinaah—gold medalists at the Commonwealth Games—won their first World Tour final of the year.