Zii Jia eyes good run in Indonesia Masters

KUALA LUMPUR: Compared to last year, Lee Zii Jia has definitely gotten a better headstart this season.

The 26-year-old independent men's singles player will seek to continue improving his form this week, when he competes in the Indonesia Masters in Jakarta.

From suffering four early round exits at the start of last year, Zii Jia only lost in the first round of the Petronas Malaysia Open a fortnight ago, before stepping up to reach the quarter-finals of the India Open last week.

Unfortunately for the former All England champion, he came up short against world No. 6 Kodai Naraoka in the last eight.

However, World No. 10 Zii Jia sees this as positive sign.

"I think it's a good start for me, because I made it to the quarter-finals in my second tournament. I just need to keep going.

"Last year, I had to wait until the All England before reaching my first semi-finals.

"Like I said, never give up and continue trying to improve," Zii Jia told the Badminton World Federation after playing Kodai.

Despite suffering 13 early exits (including the second round) from 19 World Tour events last year, Zii Jia still managed to win the Arctic Open and reach the final of the Denmark Open a week later, in October.

At the moment, he is also the highest ranked Malaysian men's singles (No. 11) on the Race to Paris standings, and looks set to qualify for the Olympic Games in July.

Zii Jia, who trains under Wong Tat Meng, will open his Indonesia Masters campaign against India's K. Srikanth.

Barring any upset, Zii Jia is slated to face newly crowned India Open champion Shi Yu Qi in the second round. Also in the bottom half of the draw is Asian Games gold medallist Li Shi Feng of China.

The other Malaysian men's singles player Ng Tze Yong, will miss the event due to a back injury, while last year's KL Masters champion Leong Jun Hao will have to clear the qualifying rounds first.

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