PETALING JAYA: Men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia continued his perfect record against former national teammate Ng Tze Yong in the China Masters.
Zii Jia fought hard before prevailing 21-15, 20-22, 21-17 over Tze Yong in a thrilling opening round match at the Shenzhen Bay Gymnasium yesterday.
It was the independent player’s third consecutive win over Tze Yong after also coming out on top against the latter in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in August and the Arctic Open final last month.
World No. 11 Zii Jia is now out to continue his good form in the tournament and end what has been a rollercoaster year for him on a high note.
He will take on world No. 16 homester Lu Guangzu for a place in the last eight today.
“As this is the last tournament of the season, I want to try and put all my effort into it,” said Zii Jia in a post-match interview with the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
“It has not been a good year for me. From the start of the year, my performance was really bad and it was only in the last few months that I started regaining some confidence.
“There is the Paris Olympics next year, so it’s more important for me to get back that confidence,” added Zii Jia, who is also looking forward to improving his game further under his coach Wong Tat Meng.
“Coach Tat Meng has been working a lot on court strategy. His focus is to make me an all-round player,” said the 25-year-old.
“The thing is we haven’t had much time to train because of the crazy schedule.
“I competed in 24 tournaments this year, the most in my career.”
Meanwhile, Tze Yong can still hold his head high after his battling display against his compatriot.
The 23-year-old also proved that he is capable of closing the gap to Zii Jia after reaching a career high No. 14 in the latest world rankings.
Tze Yong remains on track to join Zii Jia in securing a spot in the Olympics.
In the women’s singles, independent player Goh Jin Wei reached the second round after ousting Estonia’s Kristin Kuuba 21-11, 21-17.
World No. 31 Jin Wei though has an uphill task next against home favourite and reigning Olympic champion Chen Yufei.
RESULTS (Malaysians only)
Men’s singles: Lee Zii Jia bt Ng Tze Yong 21-15, 20-22, 21-17.
Women’s singles: Goh Jin Wei bt Kristin Kuuba (Est) 21-11, 21-17.
Women’s doubles: Jeong Na-eun-Kim Hye-jeong (Kor) bt Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah 21-11, 15-21, 22-20.
Mixed doubles: Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (Hkg) bt Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie 21-17, 22-20; Terry Hee-Jessica Tan (Sin) bt Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing 21-16, 23-21.