Lee Zii Jia Looks to Redeem Himself at 2022 Malaysia Open

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Lee Zii Jia aims to produce good results at the 2022 Malaysia Open. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Lee Zii Jia aims to produce good results at the 2022 Malaysia Open. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s World No. 5 Lee Zii Jia who lost in the first round of the 2019 Malaysia Open to Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand 17-21, 21-19, 15-21, is expected to give his best effort to make up for the disappointment 3 years ago.

The Malaysia Open was canceled in 2000 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lee will open against French player Toma Junior Popov – a player whom he has been beaten four times in their four previous meetings – in Wednesday’s first-round action.

However, the World No. 5 Lee will be tested by either World No. 12 Rasmus Gemke of Denmark or World No. 26 Shesar Hiren Rhustavito from Indonesia in the second round.

Even though Gemke has a lower world ranking than Lee, the Dane has won all their four previous meetings, with the last victory coming from the 2021 Indonesia Open, where Gemke defeated Lee 13-21, 25-23, 21-16.

If Rhustavito is able to beat Gemke and make the second round, Lee has a slight advantage over Rhustavito with Lee having won four out of their seven meetings. In their last meeting, Lee defeated Rhustavito 21-10, 14-21, and 21-16 in the quarter-finals of the 2022 Thailand Open.

If he advances to the quarter-finals, Lee is very likely to meet the second seed from Japan, Kento Momota – the 2020 Malaysian Masters champion who survived a fatal accident in Malaysia two years ago.

The meeting will be the 13th clash between the two players. If Momota could regain his top form, it’s going to be tough for Lee to beat him. But if Momota continues to struggle, Lee would have a bigger chance of beating Momota as their last two matches – the 2022 Thomas Cup Finals and 2022 All England were in favor of Lee.

“I don’t want to think too much about the opponents. I think the biggest opponent is myself,” said Lee who has won two titles this year, the Asian Badminton Championships (BAC) and the Thailand Open.

Malaysia’s badminton legend, Lee Chong Wei was the last Malaysian player to win the Malaysia Open in the 2018 edition. Not only that, Lee was also the men’s singles player who has won the most Malaysia Open title, a total of 12 titles (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2018).

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