Malaysia Open: Zii Jia fit, ready to mount serious challenge

By , in Nation Sports on .

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — National badminton men’s singles ace Lee Zii Jia feels he is in the best condition and ready to mount a serious challenge in the Malaysia Open 2023 beginning Tuesday after declaring himself free from injury.

The World No 2 player is confident of putting up a better show in the prestigious tournament for the home fans after a disappointing performance in last year’s edition which saw him crashing out in the second round.

The 24-year-old shuttler will go into the tournament as the second seed, but even then faces a tricky first-round encounter against Japanese player Kodai Naraoka, who ended his campaign last year by bagging third place at the World Tour Finals in December. 

zii jia

“Compared to last year, my condition is really good now and I hope things will go my way and I get good results here.”

“We do not know about his (Kodai Naraoka) condition so far, but I have to be prepared one hundred per cent,” he told reporters after a training session here today. 

Zii Jia has had some forgettable Malaysian Opens in the past. Besides his second-round loss to unheralded Indonesian player Shesar Hiren Rhustavito last year, he suffered a first-round defeat to Thailand’s S. Avihingsanon in 2019.

The 2022 Badminton Asia Championships champion also spoke excitedly over what could be an all-Malaysian second-round encounter with Ng Tze Yong should both clear their first-round matches. 

“For the Malaysian fans, I feel if we (Zii Jia-Tze Yong) were to meet in the second round, the match will be really interesting. I have yet to play him in any tournament before.”

“Like I mentioned before, he (Tze Yong) is an intelligent player. He knows what needs to be done to improve and is very clear on what he wants to do,” Zii Jia said. 

NMT as reported by Bernama

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