Thinaah Muralitharan threw her racket in the air and Pearly Tan got down on all fours to catch her breath after the women’s doubles duo survived a 211-shot rally at the Malaysia Masters badminton tournament on Thursday.
The Malaysian pair were leading Japan’s Rena Miyaura and Ayako Sakuramoto in the final set of their last-16 encounter when the rally began.
More than three minutes later, after a jaw-dropping showcase of athleticism and perseverance, Tan produced a well-disguised drop shot which Sakuramoto could not reach to seal the point, bringing an incredulous crowd to their feet.
“Winning the rally felt like winning the match. I also thought that we won after surviving the rally,” said Thinaah.
“I was too excited that it was finally over because it was exhausting and we just wanted it to end fast. When it was over, I really needed a break and I threw the racket as collecting it from the ground gave me some time to rest.”
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
How family, fight and fortune fashioned India's very own sporting 'Wonder Woman'
Tan said mental strength was crucial in coming out on top of the “monumental” rally, which left Sakuramoto sprawled on the floor in exhaustion.
“We knew we were tired, but the opponent was tired too,” Tan said. “In our minds, we wanted to win that shot, so we just mentally prepared ourselves very well, and I’m so happy we won the point.”
At the Korea Open in April last year, another women’s doubles match produced a 195-shot rally, which the Badminton World Federation said at the time was a record breaker.