Zii Jia prepared to fight through gruelling run


In control: Lee Zii Jia returning a shot to Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen in the first round.

AS FAR as Lee Zii Jia is concerned, it is the survival of the fittest in the Malaysian Open with the majority of the players competing in their third tournament in four weeks.

The gruelling run started with the back-to-back Indonesia Masters (June 7-12) and Indonesian Open (June 14-19) while the home tournament began at the Axiata Arena on Tuesday after a week’s break.

A spate of withdrawals in the ongoing meet is already an indication of the physical strain and Zii Jia, who had been playing with a hip injury, managed to survive the first round unscathed after beating Nhat Nguyen of Ireland 21-15, 21-11 in 47 minutes. “Most of the players who are playing in this tournament are tired and it (hip injury) is not an excuse.

“This tournament is about who can withstand the physical test until the end,” said the world No. 5.

“I still need to adjust to the windy condition in the stadium but it is a boost to play in front of the home crowd. It was like a normal match for me today (yesterday).”

Zii Jia’s second round opponent Shesar Hiren of Indonesia went through to the second round after Rasmus Gemke of Denmark retired injured while trailing 9-11 in the second game. Gemke had won the first game 21-15.

Zii Jia believes he has come a long way since losing in the first round of the Malaysian Open held in 2019. “I am more composed and mature in handling pressure now and also have the confidence to play in front of the big crowd,” said Zii Jia.

“I will come prepared as it is going to be a tough game.”

Zii Jia has the advantage over Shesar as the Malaysian has won four of the seven matches they have played so far.

Second seed Kento Momota also earned a free ride after his opponent Kantaphon Wancharoen withdrew while qualifier P. Kashyap outplayed Heo Kwang-hee of South Korea 21-12, 21-17.

In the second round today, Momota will meet Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong while top seed Viktor Axelsen will face another Hong Kong shuttler Lee Cheuk Yiu.

FIRST ROUND RESULTS

(Malaysians unless stated)

Men’s singles

Lee Zii Jia bt Nhat Nguyen (Ire) 21-15, 21-11; Lu Guangzu (Chn) bt Ng Tze Yong 21-16, 21-23, 21-18; Wang Tzu-wei (Tpe) bt Kevin Cordon (Gua) 21-17, 21-7; Shesar Hiren (Ina) bt Rasmus Gemke (Den) 15-21, 11-9 (ret.); Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Tha) bt Zhao Junpeng (Chn) 21-19, 14-21, 21-15; P. Kashyap bt Heo Kwang-hee (Kor) 21-12, 21-17; Angus Ng Ka Long (Hkg) bt Mark Caljouw (Ned) 21-18, 21-16; Kento Momota (Jpn) bt Kantaphon Wangcharoen (Tha) w.o.

Men’s doubles

Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik bt Akira Koga-Taichi Saito (Jpn) 21-18, 21-19; Supak Jomkoh-Kittinupong Kedren (Tha) bt Nur Azriyn Ayub-Lim Khim Wah 15-21, 21-14, 21-13; Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina) bt Ren Xiangyu-Tan Qiang (Chn) 17-21, 21-15, 21-14; Terry Hee-Loh Kean Hean (Sin) bt Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae (Kor) 21-14, 21-19; Shohibul Fikri-Bagas Maulana (Ina) bt Jones Jansen-Jan Voelker (Ger) 21-19, 21-6; Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi (Jpn) bt Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han (Tpe) 14-21, 21-16, 21-13; He Jiting-Zhao Haodong (Chn) bt Boon Xin Yuan-Wong Tien Ci 21-10, 21-12; Choi Solgyu-Kim Wan Ho (Kor) bt Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Den) 24-22, 14-21, 21-17.

Women’s singles

Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn) bt Yvonne Li (Ger) 21-13, 21-9; Iris Wang (US) bt Saina Nehwal (Ind) 21-11, 21-17; Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Tha) bt Kim Ga-eun (Kor) 22-20, 21-14; P.V. Sindhu (Ind) bt Pornpawee Chochuwong (Tha) 21-13, 21-17; Kristin Kuuba (Est) bt Michelle Li (Can) 21-12, 21-18; Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe) bt Lianne Tan (Bel) 21-13, 21-9; Chen Yufei (Chn) bt Zhang Yiman (Chn) 21-18, 21-8; Phittayaporn Chaiwan (Tha) bt Fitriani Fitriani (Ina) 21-18, 21-15.

Women’s doubles

Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah bt Liu Xuanxuan-Xia Yuting (Chn) 22-20, 21-14; Anna Cheong-Teoh Mei Xing bt Kate Frost-Moya Ryan (Irl) 21-12, 21-5; Febby Gani-Ribka Sugiarto (Ina) bt Vivian Hoo-Lim Chiew Sien 21-18, 21-17; Zheng Shuxian-Zheng Yu (Chn) bt Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai (Tha) 21-10, 21-8; Lee Sho-hee-Shin Seung-chan (Kor) bt Margot Lambert-Anne Tran (Fra) 21-16, 21-8; Mayu Matsutomo-Wakana Nagahara (Jpn) bt Ashwini Bhat-Shikah Gautam (Ind) 21-11, 21-14.

Mixed doubles

Chen Tang Jie-Valeree Siow bt Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo (Jpn) 21-16, 14-21, 21-10; Mathias Christiansen-Alexandra Boje (Den) bt Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino (Jpn) 15-21, 21-17, 22-20; Terry Hee-Jessica Tan (Sin) bt Hafiz Faizal-Serena Kani (Ina) 21-14, 21-18; Jones Jansen-Linda Efler (Ger) bt Soong Joo Ven-Goh Liu Ying 21-17, 21-18; Robin Tabeling-Selena Piek (Ned) bt Sumeeth Reddy-Ashwini Ponnappa (Ind) 21-15, 19-21, 21-17; Thom Gicquel-Delphine Delrue (Fra) bt Guo Xinwa-Zhang Shuxian (Chn) 21-15, 19-21, 21-16; Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt Hoo Pang Ron-Toh Ee Wei 21-17, 21-18; William Villeger-Anne Tran (Fra) bt Mikkel Mikkelsen-Rikke Soby (Den) 21-16, 22-20.

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