KUALA LUMPUR: A challenge has been issued to Malaysia’s No. 1 singles and doubles shuttlers Lee Zii Jia and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik to break their losing streak against their Indonesian nemeses at the All-England.
The prestigious All-England starts on Wednesday at the Birmingham Arena and Zii Jia will take on Indonesia’s world No. 7 Jonatan Christie in the first round.
The 21-year-old Zii Jia has never beaten the 2018 Asian Games champion in their last four meetings and in fact, he has never taken one game off against Jonatan. The clash in All-England will be their first this year.
Aaron-Wooi Yik, too, have had a miserable run against Indonesia’s world No. 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, losing in their last six meetings over the last two years.
This year, they were beaten in straight games in all three clashes at the Masters in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Asia Team Badminton Championships to show that there is a huge gap between the two pairs.
Barring any upsets, eighth seeds Aaron-Wooi Yik are expected to cross swords against top seeds Marcus-Kevin in the quarter-finals.
In the first round, the Malaysians have been drawn against compatriots Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani while the Indonesians are expected to have an easy path against India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty in the opener.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching and training chairman Kenny Goh hopes the Malaysians’ losing streak against their more established Indonesian pair will end in Birmingham.
“The All-England is a good platform for our top men’s singles and doubles players to outperform themselves, ” said Kenny.
“Zii Jia has never beaten Jonatan and we hope he can turn things around this time. We hope Aaron-Wooi Yik will go all the way to set up a meeting against Marcus-Kevin and will beat them for the first time.
“This is the only way for our Malaysian players to move up the ranks. Beating the higher ranked players for the first time will also be a timely boost for them ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games (July 25-Aug 9).”
Except for several players from India, most of the top players in the world will take part in the All-England. The organisers have decided that the show would go on despite the concerns over the Covid-19 outbreak.
Besides, Zii Jia, Aaron-Wooi Yik, Sze Fei-Izzuddin, the other BAM representatives are Soniia Cheah (women’s singles); Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean and Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen (women’s doubles); and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (mixed doubles).
The Malaysian independent players hoping to make their presence felt are Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Teo Ee Yi-Ong Yew Sin.
Malaysia had a good year last year as Aaron-Wooi Yik reached the final and Soon Huat-Shevon made it to the semi-finals - in their first All-England appearances.
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