Zii Jia in jovial mood after he stuns world champ Kunlavut

HANGZHOU: Lee Zii Jia was in a good mood after dumping reigning world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand out of the Asian Games on Wednesday.

The world No. 16 even shared a light-hearted comment with local media, joking that he had more energy left due to his frequent early-round exits this season.

Playing in the last-16 match in front of a packed Binjiang Gymnasium, Zii Jia staged an impressive comeback to see off Kunlavut 10-21, 21-19, 21-6 in just under an hour.

"It is obvious Kunlavut's stamina had dropped; everyone has different body conditions," Zii Jia said.

"We have many competitions throughout the year. I suffered more early round exits while he advanced to the later stages.

"I guess he will be more tired than me," added Zii Jia, who will play India's H. S. Prannoy next in the last-eight stage.

For context, Zii Jia has suffered 11 early exits (including second round) from 14 World Tour events this season as compared to Kunlavut, who has only suffered 5 from 11.

To be fair to 21-year-old Thai ace, the world No. 4 admitted that he did not have the best preparations coming into the Asian Games this year.

In fact, he revealed to the press that he had spent about four days in the hospital before coming to Hangzhou.

It is important to note that Kunlavut has not played in any tournament since winning the world crown in August.

"I didn't think too much because I know physically, I'm not in my best shape.

"I was down with influenza and had to be admitted in the hospital for about four days before coming here.

"Given my poor preparation, I did not have high expectations coming into the Asian Games.

"Nonetheless, credit to Zii Jia, he's a good player and played really well today," said Kunlavut, whose eyes are on the 2024 Paris Olympics and All England.

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