Lee Zii Jia Lands Difficult Draw At The 2023 Singapore Open

Lee Zii Jia handed tough draw at 2023 Singapore Open. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Lee Zii Jia handed tough draw at 2023 Singapore Open. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

Singapore: Malaysia’s World No. 10 Lee Zii Jia, who is still eyeing his first BWF World Tour title this year, will face a formidable Chinese opponent, Weng Hongyang, in the opening round of the 2023 Singapore Open on Wednesday.

The Singapore Open, which was upgraded from a Super 500 tournament to a Super 750 tournament this year, features a strong lineup of players, with top-ranked players required to participate. However, World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen, who sustained a hamstring injury during the Sudirman Cup in Suzhou last month, has announced his withdrawal from the competition. Following suit, Japan’s two-time world champion, Kento Momota, also announced his withdrawal due to a back injury, leaving the men’s singles event lacking two top players even before it begins.

According to the draw announced by the Badminton World Federation (BWF), Lee Zii Jia, seeded 8th, is in the bottom half of the draw. If he can overcome the challenge posed by Weng Hongyang in the first round, he is expected to face another Chinese young men’s singles player, World No. 12 Li Shifeng, in the second round. If he manages to reach the quarter-finals, he is likely to face Indonesia’s second seed and defending champion, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting. Li Shifeng was originally set to face Kento Momota in the first round.

Similarly, competing in the bottom half of the draw is Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong, who will face Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen in the first round, with his sights set on challenging Thailand’s 7th seed and last week’s Thailand Open champion – Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the second round. Kunlavut Vitidsarn who is expected to rise to World No. 3 ranking in the latest BWF rankings, will face Indian veteran Srikanth Kidambi in the first round.

In the women’s singles event, Malaysia’s sole representative, Goh Jin Wei, will face China’s 8th seed, Wang Ziyi, in the first round.

In women’s singles, although Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi is designated as the top seed, South Korea’s An Se-Young, who dominated the Thailand Open last week, is looking to continue her strong performance, having reached the finals in all seven international tournaments she has participated in this year, and winning four championships.

In the men’s doubles event, Malaysia’s 3rd seeds, Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik, will face the Chinese pair of Zhou Haodong/He Jiting in the first round. Meanwhile, in the upper half of the draw, Malaysia’s runners-up at the Malaysia Masters, Man Wei Chong/Tee Kai Wun, will open against Mark Lamsfuss/Marvin Seidel of Germany.

In mixed doubles, World No. 20 Chen Tang Jie/Toh Ee Wei, who are still competing for Olympic qualification points, will face Japan’s pairing of Kyohei Yamashita/Naru Shinoya, who reached the semi-finals of the 2021 World Championships and are currently ranked 15th in the world. The 7th seeds from Malaysia, Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai, are set to play Indonesia’s Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto/Lisa Ayu Kusumawati in the first round, while Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing will challenge South Korea’s 7th seeds, Kim Won Ho/Jeong Na Eun, in their opening match.

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