HONG KONG’S Zhou Mi will end the year as the world’s number one women’s singles player — ahead of China’s legion of stars.
And that is a personal success for Zhou Mi, who is being sponsored by KLRC Bhd, owned by Malaysian Datuk Seri Andrew Kam.
Zhou Mi, who left China with a heavy heart after the 2004 Athens Olympics to seek new fortunes in Hong Kong, said that the will to outperform the so called “invincible” Chinese players drove her to achieve remarkable results this year.
The 30-year-old is now ranked ahead of Lu Lan (No. 3), Zhu Lin (4), Xie Xingfang (5) and Wang Lin (9).
It is no secret that Zhou Mi left the Chinese national team because of her displeasure over being asked to hand the Athens Games semi-final match to compatriot Zhang Ning, who went on to claim the gold medal.
She went to Hong Kong in 2005 and took a year’s break before making a return to competition. The comeback was a struggle but she never gave up.
Zhou Mi started winning the smaller tournaments on the international calendar in 2007 and this year, she reached five finals in Super Series tournaments and nailed two of them — the Korean Open and China Masters.
She said that playing the game had become very enjoyable all over again.
“It’s also nice to see the spectators enjoying it as well,” said Zhou Mi after a training session at the Likas Indoor Stadium yesterday.
“I was not given a chance to fulfil my dream at my last Olympics (in Athens). I am back to show that I can do better. I am still not at my best but for now, I think, it is good enough to give the best players a fight.
“The current set of Chinese players are young and talented. They can only become better. It will not be easy to maintain this position (as the world No. 1).”
Although she has completed her mission to perform better than the Chinese players this year, Zhou Mi is looking at putting the icing on the cake in the Super Series Masters Finals.
Zhou Mi will play two Group A matches today against compatriot Wang Chen and Germany’s Xu Huaiwen. The top two players in the group qualify for the semi-finals and Zhou Mi will take on Japanese Yu Hirayama tomorrow.
Group B matches involve Malaysia’s Wong Mew Choo, France’s Pi Hongyan, world number two Tine Rasmussen of Denmark and world junior champion Saina Nehwal of India.