Australian Open: Fortune Favours the Brave

Two weeks ago, Lai Pei Jing was left devastated after losing “nearly all her life savings” to online scammers.

Following a few days of reflection, Lai chose to put on a brave front and continue competing on the HSBC BWF World Tour. Her resilience bore immediate fruit, seemingly almost divinely, as she and Tan Kian Meng reached their first Super 1000 semifinal since last year’s China Open.

And at SATHIO GROUP Australian Open 2024, where she entered women’s doubles “for fun” after a nine-year hiatus from the discipline, Lai “unexpectedly” qualified for the final partnering Lim Chiew Sien. Incredibly, it’s a first for Malaysia in the discipline on the World Tour this season.

“It’s indescribable what I’m feeling right now, it’s incredible,” said Lai, whose feat was made even more impressive by the 21-13 18-21 21-14 conquering of Yeung Nga Ting/Yeung Pui Lam, the Hong Kong China shuttlers who would be competing at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games next month.

“I’ve left the bad experience behind and I just want to look forward now. What I can do is earn back my money by working harder on court and staying focused in every single match.”

On her improved on-court fortunes, which assure a handsome payout, Lai said: “Maybe it’s the prayers of Malaysians.”

Lai and Lim focused on the shuttle.

Notably, Lai has not played women’s doubles on the tour since 2015 – her last outing being alongside Chow Mei Kuan in the Indonesia Masters quarterfinals. Lai/Lim will face Indonesians Febriana Dwipuji Kusuma/Amallia Cahaya Pratiwi for the title on Sunday.

Praising Lai’s resolve, Lim said: “I really respect her because it’s not easy to continue playing after what she went through. She’s been a great help during the matches, guiding me when I’m lost. I cherish every moment on court with her.”

Earlier in the week, Lai was at pains to stress her women’s doubles participation in Sydney was a one-time experiment. Will she reconsider her stance after the gallant run in Sydney this week?

“Not really, I want to focus on mixed doubles for now,” laughed the ever-positive 31-year-old, who with Tan lost their semis to top seeds Jiang Zhen Bang/Wei Ya Xin earlier in the day.

BWF World Tour News

Title Sponsor