Will a second consecutive final in the Denmark Open 2023 mark a turnaround in Lee Zii Jia’s fortunes?

IT seems that ‘faded’ national single ace Lee Zii Jia seems to thrive in ‘cold’ countries/continents.

After emerging triumphant to dispel a spate of first round knock-outs in recent times, one wonders if a revival in form is underway for the Kedah-born shuttler whose world ranking has dipped to No. 11 after being crowned the champion of Arctic Open 2023 by overpowering Ng Tze Yong effortlessly 21-14, 21-15 in an all-Malaysian final a week earlier.

In the wee hours of this morning (Malaysian time), Zii Jia whose attitude and dismal performance have irked has many badminton fans found himself in a back-to-back tournament final after having sent Hong Kong’s No. 2 Lee Cheuk Yiu packing 21-15, 21-17 in a 43-minute encounter at the semi-finals of the VICTOR Denmark Open 2023.

With Cheuk Yiu who is now under the tutelage of former national No. 1 and former Badminton of Malaysia’s (BAM) singles coaching director Wong Choong Hann having made quite a few unforced errors en route to his defeat, it can be a formidable task to access erratic Zii Jia’s chances when he takes on China’s rising star Weng Hong Yang in today’s finals.

The 24-year-old world No. 22 had earlier disposed of his compatriot and world’s No. 4 Shi Yu Qi in straight sets 21-19, 21-14.

Weng has a 2-1 head-to-head track record against Zii Jia after inflicting defeat on the latter in the semi-finals of the Australia Open 2023 in August (21-19, 13-21, 21-13 in 81 minutes) and earlier with an embarrassing first round exit at the Singapore Open 2023 in June (22-20, 16-21, 21-19 in 74 minutes).

Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik will join Lee Zii Jia in the Denmark Open 2023 finals tonight (Malaysian time)

While fingers are crossed if the 25-year-old Kedah-born Zii Jia gives himself a shot at redeeming the faith of his critics, Malaysian badminton fans will be treated to a Malaysian-Indonesian showdown when national top doubles pair of Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik square off against Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagus Maulana in the men doubles’ event.

The fifth-seeded Malaysians came back from a game down to topple local favourites Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 16-21, 21-15, 1-15 in 56 minutes while the six-seeded Indonesians overcame their compatriots Fajar Alfan-Muhammad Riaan Adrianto 21-11, 16-21, 21-12 in 54 minutes.

In the second round on Thursday (Oct 19), Chia-Soh has successfully fenced off the resistance of “badminton papas” Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan 16-21,21-5, 21-15 in 41 minutes.

Will there be a double joy for Malaysian badminton fans tonight? – Oct 22, 2023

Pics credit: HSBC BWF World Tour

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