PETALING JAYA: National top shuttler Lee Zii Jia could not have asked for a tougher draw for the World Tour Finals debut in Bangkok this week.
In the men's singles draw released today, the 22-year-old was bunched in what is a 'Group of Death' alongside in-form world No. 4 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Taiwan's world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen and world No. 6 Anthony Ginting of Indonesia in Group A.
Zii Jia is under immense pressure to bounce back from his uninspiring displays in the last two meets.
Zii Jia could only reach the last eight in the first Open, losing tamely to Tien-chen and was then knocked out in the first round by India's Sameer Verma last week.
Top men's doubles Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik also found themselves in a tough group after drawing reigning world champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia, South Korea's Choi Sol-gyu-Seo Seung-jae and Russia's Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov in Group B.
But the world No. 9 will not be short of confidence having emerged runners-up at the Toyota Thailand Open last week.
Independent pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi are the other Malaysian representatives in the men's doubles action. They are in a less intimidating Group A that comprise back-to-back Thailand Open winners Lee Yang-Wang Chi Lin of Taiwan and two English pairs Marcus Ellis-Chris Langridge and Sean Vendy-Ben Lane.
In the women's doubles, the fans will be hopeful of seeing either Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean and Vivian Hoo causing an upset or two as the two Malaysian pairs are in being drawn together in Group A with favourites Indonesia's Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu and South Korea's Lee So-hee-Shin Sheung-chan.
In the mixed doubles, Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie can heave a huge sigh of relief after avoiding Thai top pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai for the third tournament running.
Soon Huat-Shevon have Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herttrich of Germany, Thom Gicquel-Delphine Delrue of France and Indonesia's Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Wijaja as company in Group B.
Soon Huat-Shevon were beaten by world No. 3 Dechapol-Sapsiree in the last 16 of the last two Opens, which the latters went on to sweep both titles.
Group A: Viktor Axelsen (Den), Chou Tien-chen (Tpe), Lee Zii Jia (Mas) and Anthony Ginting (Ina).
Group B: Anders Antonsen (Den), Wang Tzu-wei (Tpe), K. Srikanth (Ind) and Angus Ng Ka Long (Hkg).
Group A: Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin (Tpe), Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (Mas), Ben Lane-Sean Vendy (Eng) and Marcus Ellis-Chris Langridge (Eng).
Group B: Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (Mas), Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina), Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov (Rus) and Choi Sol-gyu-Seo Seung-jae (Kor).
Group A: Carolina Marin (Spa), An Se-young (Kor), Michelle Li (Can) and Evgeniya Kosetskaya (Rus).
Group B: Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe), Ratchanok Intanon (Tha), Pornpawee Chochuwong (Tha) and P. V Sindhu (Ind).
Group A: Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu (Ina), Lee So-hee-Shin Sheung-chan (Kor), Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (Mas) and Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen (Mas).
Group B: Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong (Kor), Lauren Smith-Chloe Birch (Eng), Linda Efler0-Isabel Herttrich (Ger) and Jongkolphan Kittitharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai (Tha).
Group A: Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith (Eng), Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha), Praveen Jordan- Melati Oktavianti (Ina) and Seo Seung-jae-Chae Yu-jung (Kor).
Group B: Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herttrich (Ger), Thom Gicquel-Delphine Delrue (Fra), Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (Mas) and Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Widjaja (Ina).
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