Zii Jia must reach at least semis in Sydney to make Tour Finals

Strong contenders: Lee Zii Jia will most likely play China’s Lu Guangzu in the second round of the Australian Open.

PETALING JAYA: It’s make-or-break time for Lee Zii Jia.

The independent World No. 2 shuttler, who was runner-up at the Denmark Open but crashed out in the first round of the French Open recently, is under pressure to qualify for the World Tour Finals in Guangzhou.

After skipping the Hylo Open in Germany the following week, Zii Jia has dropped to ninth in the qualifying list. The top eight players and pairs from the five events will qualify for Guangzhou from Dec 14-18.

The only way for him to squeeze in as the eighth qualifier for the Finals is to smash out eighth-ranked Lu Guangzu of China at the Australian Open beginning next Tuesday in Sydney. The Australian Open is the final qualifying event for the Finals.

But beating Guangzu is not the only way for Zii Jia to win the ticket to Guangzhou. He must at least enter the semi-finals in Sydney to rack up enough points to unseat Guangzu.

Based on their past meetings, Zii Jia holds the advantage over the world No. 19 Chinese whom he beat in the 2019 World Championships and 2020 All-England.

Both are likely to meet in the second round in Sydney.

Zii Jia has received a first-round bye while Guangzu will open his campaign against Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto.

If he maintains his unbeaten streak against Guangzu, Zii Jia has a good opportunity to make the semi-finals as his toughest possible opponent in the last eight, India’s Lakshya Sen, has withdrawn from the tournament.

The other Malaysians in the fray are veteran Liew Daren, Ng Tze Yong, Cheam June Wei and Soong Joo Ven.

Daren and Tze Yong both have tough opening round matches against China’s World Championships bronze medallist Zhao Junpeng and silver medallist Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand respectively.

June Wei and Joo Ven will start the tournament from the qualifying rounds.

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Badminton

Chong Wei wants to use new role in ABM to inspire shuttlers
All-Malaysian mixed doubles showdown in Iran
Malaysia may reduce dependence on Zii Jia at mixed team championship
Confidence is key for Pearly-Thinaah in bid to regain best form
Rexy: Hon Jian could be best fit for Sze Fei
Wasteful Tze Yong pays the price as Angus gets his revenge
Chong Wei to be part of Technical Advisory Panel at ABM
First real test awaits Tze Yong in quarter-finals
Liek Hou may still be in the running for 2028 Paralympics gold
Nova: Patience is key for June Wei to upstage Angus

Others Also Read