Time to end it with a bang

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PETALING JAYA: It’s her final outing and doubles shuttler Vivian Hoo wants to finish with a flourish at the forthcoming Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark, from Oct 3-11.

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The 30-year-old wants to bid farewell on a high note by helping Malaysia reach the knockout stage for the first time since 2010, the year where she made her debut in Kuala Lumpur.

A top eight finish, she said, was always a realistic target although the odds are heavily stacked against the team.

In the last three editions, Malaysia came up just short in their bid to finish among the top two in the group to advance to the last eight.

In New Delhi 2014 and Kunshan 2016, Malaysia lost narrowly 3-2 to Denmark in the battle for second spot behind China and Japan respectively.

They also suffered a similar fate in Bangkok two years ago as they were pipped by Indonesia as China easily won the group.

“We did have our chances to get past the group stage in previous years, and this time is no exception, ” said Vivian, who will make her fifth and last appearance in the prestigious women’s team competition before hanging up her racquet next year.

“Perhaps a little bit of luck in the draw would help.

“I can’t even remember when was the last time we actually made it to the quarter-finals, so exiting at the group stage has become sort of a routine for us.

“But this is going to be my last Uber Cup, I want it to end well. If we can really do it (survive the group stage), I would be very happy, ” added the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist who forms a world No. 25 partnership with Yap Cheng Wen.

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She will also be out to get a couple of wins to improve on her poor record in the competition.

“Wins were always hard to come by because I played mostly in the first doubles, ” she said.

“If there’s one unforgettable moment, it has to be in 2016.

“(Woon) Khe Wei and I were on the verge of beating (China’s) Tang Yuanting-Yu Yang but ended up squandering an 18-11 lead!”

With Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean most likely to play at first doubles, Vivian admits she and Cheng Wen could face a competition from rising stars Pearly Tan Koong Le-M. Thinaah for the second doubles place,

In Vivian’s absence, Pearly-Thinaah have staked their claim with an impressive performance at the Asia Team Championships in Manila, Philippines, in February. Vivian did not travel with the team as she was injured.

“It all depends on who the coaches want to field. For me, it’s actually fine even if they decide to give Pearly and Thinaah a chance, ” she said.

“Let them play, expose them. After all, we are targeted to win the Cup. The experience they gain is going to help them in future.

“I remember I made my debut when I was 20, too. Khe Wei and I got thrashed (21-9,21-9) by (2008 Beijing Olympic champions) Du Jing-Yu Yang, but it was a very good lesson indeed.”

-The Star

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