TOP national women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah extended their 18-month title drought in World Tour tournaments, after bowing out of the 2024 Malaysia Masters semi-finals, today.

World number 13 Pearly-Thinaah, who last lifted the French Open title in Oct 2022, suffered a 16-21, 11-21 setback to sixth seeds Lee Yu Lim-Shin Seung Chan of South Korea after a 45-minute battle at Axiata Arena here.

Awaiting Lee-Shin in the final tomorrow are top seeds Rin Iwanaga-Kie Nakanishi of Japan, who beat Gabriela Stoeva-Stefani Stoeva of Bulgaria 21-14, 21-16 in another semi-final encounter.

The last edition’s runners-up, Pearly-Thinaah who had defeated the Koreans during their only previous encounter at the Japan Masters last year, found their improved speed stunned them in today’s match.

“Physically everything is good, just strategy wise we need to work on. Their smashes were forceful making them hard to counter with good placings. Actually we were quite excited to be back on court because it has been quite long time since the Asian Championship in early April.

“The positive thing is, we got lot more communication in court, we discuss with each other even when things went wrong. I think this is a good thing we learnt from this tournament. We have few days to next tournament, we just want to be more consistent,” said Pearly after the match.

Echoing her teammate, Thinaah said communication is vital and they had to work back on each other’s strategy and focus ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics from July 26 to Aug 11.

“It’s not the results we expected, but the opponent also played a good game today. Because it is only both of us on court, only both of us can let each other know the feelings and what’s going on court, so hope to keep this (communication) going and even better, while working to improve ourselves,” she said.

After this, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medalist, is scheduled to play in next week’s Singapore Open and Indonesia Open.

Meanwhile, two-time Malaysian Masters women’s singles champion (2013, 2016), PV Sindhu is a win away from ending a two-year title drought, as she will be facing reigning Asian champion and second seed Wang Zhi Yi of China, tomorrow.

The world number 15 Sindhu, who last won the Singapore Open in July 2022, comeback from a set down to eliminate Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand 13-21, 21-16, 21-12 in the semi-finals, while Zhi Yi dispose of compatriot Zhang Yi Man 21-19, 21-11.

Sindhu, the 2019 world champion, said ending the title drought tomorrow will be crucial in raising her confidence ahead of the Paris Olympics, after having defeated Zhi Yi twice in their three previous meetings.

“I hope to win this title for the third time, but can’t be over confident because the Zhi Yi is very a good player. The crowd has been fantastic today, they were cheering for me, I am very very thankful for them, hope the same support will be there tomorrow.

“Tomorrow is not going to be easy, need to go back, recover and be prepared. I need to give my 100 per cent because winning this will give me a lot of confidence,” she added.