Kuala Lumpur: The World No. 5 Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia who lost in the first round of the 2019 Malaysia Open, has been blazing his own path at the top of professional badminton since winning his first BWF Super 1000 title at the 2021 All England Open.
On Wednesday, the 24-year-old overcame Nhat Nguyen of Ireland 21-15, 21-11 to advance to the 2022 Malaysia Open second round.
“I can say I am calmer, more mature in handling the pressure, especially playing in front of many supporters in a stadium like this,” said Lee.
“I think it was a normal match for me but there may be a few more weaknesses that I need to improve in the next round,” added Lee.
Lee will face Indonesian player, Shesar Hiren Rhustavito for a ticket to the quarterfinals on Thursday.
In men’s doubles, Malaysia’s World No. 6 Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik were on course for their title-hunting mission after successfully beating the Japanese pair, Akira Koga/Taichi Saito 21-18, 21-19 in 42 minutes.
The victory was also sweet revenge for Chia/Soh after losing to the same opponents in the 2021 Denmark Open second round. Chia/Soh will face Terry Hee/Loh Kean Hean of Singapore in the second round.
“I think this was a good win for us because we were able to execute our game plan nicely. Anyway, we have to stay focused and can’t take our next opponent lightly because they have been showing great improvement recently,” said Chia.
Meanwhile, Soh hoped that they could maintain consistency until the final and realize their dream of becoming champions for the first time on the international stage at the 2022 Malaysian Open.
“As everyone knows our target is to be champions, let alone playing at home. After managing to advance to the semi-finals and finals of many tournaments, we hope we can be champions here,” said Soh.
Since being paired in 2017, Chia/Soh has never won a title on the international stage with their best achievement so far being eight runners-up including at the 2022 Asian Badminton Championships, 2020 Thailand Open, and 2019 All England.
Meanwhile, the women’s doubles, Pearly Tan/M Thinaah also confirmed a ticket to the second round after beating the Chinese pair, Liu Xuan Xuan/Xia Yu-Ting 22-20, 21-14, and is scheduled to meet another Chinese pair – Zhang Shu Xian/Zheng Yu for a spot in the quarterfinals.