Zii Jia wants to address his inconsistency once and for all

Help on the way: Lee Zii Jia will only have Wong Tat Meng as his coach beginning next month. — AP

PETALING JAYA: Lee Zii Jia believes his inconsistent performance has continued to foil his attempts to bounce back from a string of early round defeats on the international stage.

A similar rollercoaster display saw the independent shuttler suffering another first-round exit in the Singapore Open on Wednesday where he lost 22-20, 16-21, 21-19 in 64 minutes to one of China’s rising stars Weng Hongyang.

It was close battle where Zii Jia had his moments, especially in the first game when he led 19-15 but allowed Hongyang to seize the initiative and secure a 22-20 win.

Hongyang’s run however ended in the quarter-finals yesterday as he went down to compatriot and All-England champion Li Shifeng.

Zii Jia, the world No. 10, acknowledged the fact that he plays well one moment and exactly the opposite within a match and wants to address the issue before it gets out of hand.

“I think inconsistency on the court is a problem. Sometimes, I produce good game and sometimes, I perform badly and yeah, this is my problem,” a frustrated Zii Jia told SPOTV Malaysia.

“Lost again. This is the best I can do and have to accept it. I need to calm down, have to start thinking clearly as it is getting too much.”

There was a brief period in Europe where back-to-back semi-final appearances at the All-England and Swiss Open in March may have arrested Zii Jia’s shaky run but inconsistency had started to haunt him again in the last two tournaments he had competed in.

Although Zii Jia stayed unbeaten in Malaysia’s run to the semi-finals at the Sudirman Cup (where they lost 3-1 to eventual champions China) last month, he suffered a second-round defeat to Lin Chun-yi of Taiwan.

Zii Jia was expected to make a breakthrough after skipping last week’s Thailand Open but Hongyang turned out to be one of his growing stumbling blocks in the highly competitive men’s singles scene.

The help is definitely on the way as his new coach Wong Tat Meng will begin his duties early next month but Zii Jia may have to find ways to win his own battle against the growing list of quality rivals from China, Japan, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand.

Meanwhile, another independent shuttler Goh Jin Wei also found the hard way on how far she has been left behind by the top 20 players in the women’s singles and has acknowledged the fact that she needs to work harder to improve on her results.

The world No. 31 from Penang lost 11-21, 11-21 to world No. 7 Wang Zhiyi of China and the result showed the gulf of difference between the two players.

“I’ve not played in a long while and the match showed there is a big gap between us. I need to work hard to improve my own game as the world 10, even the top 30 is very competitive now,” said Jin Wei.

“In fact, I had nothing to lose against her but I was just too nervous.

“It is not like playing in the Sudirman Cup or the super 1000, so I need know how to step up in these tournaments.”

The early signs are clear that the Olympic qualifying period for Paris 2024 will be a gruelling one and the Malaysian shuttlers have to be on their toes to take their chances well to stay in contention until May next year.

Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Badminton

Rashid calls on Tze Yong and Zii Jia to seize chance to topple favourites
June Wei can handle pressure of third singles, says coach
Wretched Ratchanok ruled out of Hangzhou assignment
Letshanaa savouring esprit de corps at centralised training
Extra motivation for Goh-Shevon to make Asiad swan song a huge hit
Coach confident his charges will spring surprise in world juniors
Ong-Teo to bank on experience and new moves for fruitful outing
Aaron doesn’t mind being the dark horse in Hangzhou
Settling down as No. 1 pair will be Chen-Toh's main task after painful lesson
Tze Yong: I’m on right track but I need to raise my game for Asiad

Others Also Read