Lee Zii Jia Faces World Champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn In Asian Games 3rd Round

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Lee Zii Jia will be hoping to break his duck against Kunlavut Vitidsarn and book his place in the semi-finals of the Asian Games. However, he knows that he will need to be at his absolute best to overcome the world champion. (Photo: AFP)
Lee Zii Jia will be hoping to break his duck against Kunlavut Vitidsarn and book his place in the semi-finals of the Asian Games. However, he knows that he will need to be at his absolute best to overcome the world champion. (Photo: AFP)

Hangzhou: Malaysia’s World No. 16 Lee Zii Jia faces a daunting task in the 3rd round of the Asian Games 2023, as he is set to take on reigning world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand.

Lee, who is currently ranked 16th in the world, advanced to the last eight with a comfortable 21-0, 21-7 victory over East Timor’s Mourinho Gusmao de Jesus in the second round. However, he is aware that he will need to raise his game significantly to challenge Vitidsarn, who is in red-hot form.

The Thai shuttler, who is just 21 years old, won his maiden world title last August and has been in scintillating form ever since. He came into the Asian Games on the back of a four-match winning streak, and he has continued his impressive run by beating Nguyen Hai Dang of Vietnam 17-21, 21-18, 21-15.

“Kunlavut is the world champion this year. It will be a big challenge for me, because my current performance is not very consistent,” Lee admitted ahead of the match. “Everyone knows he (Kunlavut) is a player who has a solid defensive style, I have to be patient when playing with him.”

The two players have met six times in the past, with the head-to-head record tied at 3-3. However, Vitidsarn has won the last two meetings, including a victory in the final of the World Tour Finals in 2021.

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