SINGAPORE: Singapore’s mixed doubles badminton players Terry Hee and Jessica Tan capped off their Indian tour with a hard-fought battle against Druv Kapila and Tanisha Crasto at the Odisha Masters on Dec 17 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium.
It was Hee’s and Tan’s second final in India, having won the Guwahati Masters earlier in the month. Before that, they were in Lucknow for the Syed Modi International, where they finished in the quarter-finals stage.
It was an intense final in the Odisha Masters, with the Singapore shuttlers snatching the first set 21-19. Although Hee and Tan tried their best and pushed the opponents to their limits, they could not edge them in the remaining sets.
Kapila and Crasto mounted a comeback, claiming the second set 21-19 and seizing the title in a nail-biting 23-21 thriller. As runners-up in the competition, they picked up a prize money of US$3,800.
For the husband-and-wife duo, it has been a rather busy past two months since the Asian Games in October. Since they competed in Hangzhou, China, the mixed doubles pairing has travelled to six countries to compete in numerous competitions.
“Another podium finish to end off the year! This marks the end of our eighth tournament in nine weeks (crazy right?!!!!) This is our longest run ever & I’m so proud that we persevered all the way. This Olympic qualification period is tough and full of challenges, but it is every athlete’s dream to even be able to embark on it is a huge privilege on its own. Thank you coach @paulusfirman525 and everyone for fighting alongside with us & supporting us all the way,” posted shuttler Tan on her Instagram and Facebook page.
Fresh from the Asian Games, Hee and Tan, ranked 22nd in the world, competed in the Abu Dhabi Masters and had decent results. But their momentum ended when they lost 22-20, 17-21, and 18-21 to Mads Vestergaard and Christine Busch in the finals on Oct 22.
The duo then went on a tour of Europe, starting with the French Open at the end of October. They sailed through the first two rounds as their opponents retired midway through the matches. But they were met with formidable opponents in the quarter-finals, losing the match 22-24, 17-21 to world number two ranked players Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino from Japan.
Although Mathias Christiansen and Alexandra Boje ended their journey at the Hylo Open in Germany in the Round of 16 (16-21, 21-16, 12-21), there was a joy for Tan and Hee in their next tournament in Europe.
In a match that took just slightly an hour, Tan and Hee needed three sets to win the Irish Open, defeating 36th-ranked English pairing Gregory Mairs and Jenny Mairs 21-17, 18-21, 21-15 in the finals on Nov 18.
Their gruelling schedule brought them to China for their fifth competition after the Asian Games.
At the China Masters, Hee and Tan faced world number two ranked players Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yu Jung in Round 16.
Despite falling 9-21 in the first set, the Singapore shuttlers battled valiantly and refused to back down as they clawed back 25-23 in the second set. However, Hee and Tan could not outmatch their opponents in the deciding game, losing 19-21.
Their final three tournaments of the year were in India. The first is the Syed Modi International where they were knocked out in the quarter-finals.
Hee and Tee then went to Assam for the Guwahati Masters. They were able to exact revenge on Vestergaard and Busch, whom they lost to in the Abu Dhabi Masters final.
Hee and Tan defeated the Danish pair 21-19 and 21-11 in the Guwahati Final at the Sarju Sarai Indoor Sports Complex on Dec 10 and picked up prize money of US$7,900 in the US$100,000 tournament.
The Odisha Masters completes their tour of India and their badminton competition for 2023. But there won’t be much rest for Hee and Tan, as they will resume action on the court at the Malaysia Open against Ye Hong Wei and Lee Chia Hsin from Chinese Taipei from 9 Jan 2024.