HOON THIEN HOW-TAN WEE KIONG earned their first title at the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold today after clawing back from a six-point deficit in the second game to beat top seeds Lee Sheng Mu-Tsai Chia Hsin of Taiwan 21-16, 21-19.
The world No. 10 pair are certainly in the form of their lives, having made the China Open final two weeks ago, where they lost to South Korea’s Lee Yong Dae-Yoo Yeon Seong.
The second seeds, whose previous best showings were two semifinal appearances at the 2012 Japan Open and recent French Open, were not to be denied this time.
They were quick to dedicate to their victory to their former coach Paulus Firman, who guided them since February.
Paulus handed a shock resignation earlier this month, citing family reason and will left for Indonesia next Wednesday.
“This title has to be for Paulus, he is such a great coach,” said Wee Kiong.
“He is the man who taught us so much, not only in badminton, but also about life. We will miss his guidance for sure.
“Now that we have finally won a title, the hard work must continue.”
Thien How-Wee Kiong took the opening game with relative ease, but found themselves 11-5 by the interval of the second.
But if the crowd thought the battle was destined to be extended to the rubber game, they got it wrong.
Our national No. 2 pair immediately won five straight points to breathe down the Taiwanese necks and did not allow them to open a gap of more than two points.
At 14-16, Thien How-Wee Kiong gained another two straight points to level and the match went on closely until 19-19.
The Malaysian duo would then step up their game to pick up the last two points en route to clinching their maiden triumph since being paired up in late 2011.
“We started the second game badly, allowing our opponents to get away with a big gap,” Wee Kiong said.
“But we calmed down and encourage each other, it works.
“Our combination, communication and consistency, which we have improved on in the last few tournaments were the keys to today’s victory too.”