Lee Zii Jia, survived two early tests to book his place in the first round of the Perodua Malaysia Masters 2019 which began today at the Axiata Arena, KL Sports City.
The 20 year old had to endure a difficult match against teammate, Soong Joo Ven in the first qualifying round before securing his passage after overcoming Thammasin Sitthikom from Thailand in the final qualifying round.
Zii Jia, ranked 37 in the world took to the court in the morning and was pushed to the edge before going through 21-23, 21-13, 24-22 in one hour. The Taiwan Open champion then had no problem disposing of Thammasin, 21-17, 21-16 in 37 minutes.
Drawn with Zhou Zeqi in the first qualifying round, the Chinese player’s sudden withdrawal left him facing the ‘friendly fire’ of Joo Ven. For the 1.86m tall shuttler, playing against Joo Ven was tougher compared to unknown, Zheqi due to the familiarity with the style of play of his opponent.
“I had more difficulties facing Joo Ven as we are training partners and we are used to each other’s games. For me, if given the choice, I would have preferred to play against Zhou as I feel more pressure playing against my teammate,” he said during the post -match interview.
The Kedah lad will be hoping to go further than he did in his first outing in 2019, a quarter final finish in the Thailand Masters, where he was halted by Brice Leverdez from France.
Zii Jia will take to court tomorrow for the main draw against, Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk who denied another Malaysian, independent shuttler, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin of a place in the round of 32 after eliminating him in the second qualifying round, 12-21, 21-16, 21-12.
Another Malaysian representative, Chong Wei Feng, also failed to make it through after losing unexpectedly to Denmark’s, Victor Svendsen, 20-22, 21-8, 19-21.
Besides Zii Jia, Malaysia will be represented by professional, Liew Daren and national number one who was guaranteed a place in the main draw of the men’s singles who will meet eight seed, Tommy Sugiarto from Indonesia.
Other Malaysians to make it through to the first round are men’s doubles pair, Chooi Kah Ming-Low Juan Shen who beat Thom Gicquel-Ronan Labar from France, 21-19, 21-17 in 30 minutes.
Playing later, mixed doubles, Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie, had no problems disposing of Hong Kong pair, Chang Tak Ching-Ng Wing Yung, 23-21, 21-14 in the first round.
The fifth seeds will meet Takura Hoki-Wakana Nagahara from Japan in the second round. Two other Malaysian pairs, Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing and Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei weren’t so lucky as they failed to make it past the opening round.
Kian Meng-Pei Jing fell to fourth seeds and 2017 world championship bronze medallists, Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock from England, 22-20, 11-21, 15-21 while Tang Jie-Yen Wei were halted by Japanese pair, Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo, 18-21, 12-21.
With the exception of the mixed doubles, the main draws for the men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and women’s doubles will begin tomorrow.
For those who want to catch Zii Jia's exploits and the other Malaysians in action, tickets can be purchased online through website https://myticket.asia/ or on match day at the Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur Sports City (KLSC).
Tickets are priced at between RM18 and RM75 depending on the seating (upper, lower and premium). Children from between four years and 18 years can enjoy discounts of up to 50% till the quarter- finals (Premium and Lower Tier) and discounts up to the final (for Upper Tier). There are also VIP passes and season passes on offer.
With the status of BWF World Tour Super 500, Perodua Malaysia Masters 2019 offers a total cash prize of US$350,000.