Antonsen’s withdrawal is good news for Zii Jia

PETALING JAYA: Denmark’s Anders Antonsen’s withdrawal from the German Open has given independent men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia (pic) an easier path to the quarter-finals.

World No. 4 Zii Jia had been slated to meet world No. 18 Antonsen in the second round of the tournament, which got underway in Mulheim yesterday.

The Dane’s decision to pull out has given Zii Jia a boost as he will now likely play Taiwan’s world No. 49 Lee Chia Hao in the second round instead.

Chia Hao was promoted to the main draw from the qualifiers to replace Antonsen. Other notable players who have also pulled out are fellow Dane Rasmus Gemke (No. 21) and India’s world No. 19 K. Srikanth.

Zii Jia should have little trouble getting past his opening round match against a qualifier today.

The 24-year-old is bidding to get his season back on track after a disappointing start to the year that saw him eliminated in the early rounds of his first three tournaments – the Malaysian Open, Indian Open and Indonesian Masters in January.

Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles, Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun were forced to withdraw from the tournament after the former suffered an ankle injury.

Malaysia will still be represented by reigning world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and independent pairs Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and Tan Kian Meng-Tan Wee Kiong.

World No. 2 Aaron-Wooi Yik, who received a first-round bye, will play Japan’s No. 25 Akira Koga-Taichi Saito in the second round today while world No. 8 Yew Sin-Ee Yi will meet Taiwan’s newly formed pair Lee Fang-chih-Lee Yang in the first round.

World No. 42 Kian Meng-Wee Kiong moved into the second round without having to lift their racquets after their opening round opponents, Scotland’s world No. 23 Alexander Dunn-Adam Hall pulled out.

Kian Meng-Wee Kiong will now face the winners of the match between China’s world No. 5 Liu Yuchen-Ou Xuanyi and South Korea’s world No. 16 Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae in the second round.

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