KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s top men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia (picture) easily cleared his first-round obstacle at the 2022 Australian Open, in his hunt for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Finals ticket.
The 24-year-old independent player ousted Australia’s Rio Agustino 21-9, 21-11 in 25 minutes at the State Sports Centre in Sydney to reach the last 16.
Tomorrow, world number two Zii Jia must beat China’s Lu Guang Zu, who defeated Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia 21-18, 21-17.
Zii Jia needs to reach the semi-finals to overtake Guang Zu in order to qualify for the World Tour Finals, which has been moved to Bangkok, Thailand.
As only the top eight will qualify, Zii Jia is currently placed ninth with 54,930 points in the Race to Guangzhou rankings while Guang Zu is in the last qualifying spot with 56,310 points.
Earlier, national team player Ng Tze Yong also secured his spot in the last 16 stage after defeating another Australian Jacob Schueler 21-13, 21-15, to meet Heo Kwang Hee of South Korea.
Meanwhile, Soong Joo Ven beat Adam Dolman from Australia 21-12, 21-12 to accompany Zii Jia and Tze Yong into the second round.
Men’s doubles pair Ong Yew Sin-Tee Ee Yi also advanced after securing a 21-12, 21-15 win over Adam Jeffrey-Dylan Soedjasa of New Zealand, to set an appointment against the latter’s compatriot Ricky Cheng-Jack Wang.
In the women’s singles, independent player Goh Jin Wei is the sole Malaysian to progress, after having ousted Tanya Hemanth of India 21-15, 21-16 in 32 minutes to meet another Indian Anwesha Gowda in next round.
However, S. Kisona faced yet another early exit, losing to third seed Pornpawee Chochuwong 13-21, 10-21.
Another women’s singles shuttler Soniia Cheah also had to book an early return ticket, after bowing out to Putri Kusuma Wardani of Indonesia in 19-21, 15-21. – Bernama