All England: Zii Jia determined to seize the moment in final

Lee Zii Jia will face Viktor Axelsen in the All England badminton final. ― AFP pic
Lee Zii Jia will face Viktor Axelsen in the All England badminton final. ― AFP pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Malaysia’s top singles ace, Lee Zii Jia wants to seize the big moment in his career so far by going all out in the final of the 2021 All England Badminton Championships in Birmingham, tonight.

Like any other shuttler, the 22-year-old Alor Setar lad had the dream to feature in the final showdown of the world’s oldest badminton tournament and the chances are there for Zii Jia to achieve glory at the Utilita Arena.

But Zii Jia, needs to overcome the last hurdle first, as he is set to avenge his defeat in last year’s semi-finals at the hands of the eventual winner, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, in what promises to be a mouth-watering clash.

The sixth seed was in majestic form as he swept aside Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in straight games, 21-13, 21-17, in 44 minutes, while Axelson bounced back from losing in the first set to his compatriot, Anders Antonsen, to qualify for the final after notching a 16-21, 21-7, 21-17 victory last night.

The current world number 10 feels that he has slowly regained his confidence following his big win against Caljouw after a disastrous start so far, this year.

“It was quite a tough game against Caljouw and I admit that I lost focus a bit in the second game but luckily I managed to get back and win the second set.

“It will be very tough against Viktor hopefully, I will get a good rest and prepare for the final,” he said in a video shared by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to the media.

Zii Jia also hopes to emerge as a better and more matured player in the future after gaining a lot of valuable experience throughout the outings that he has participated in so far.

Meanwhile, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying lamented over their last four exit at the hands of the unseeded Japanese pair, Yuki-Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo. The Japanese won 21-14, 22-20 to qualify for the mixed doubles final today.

Liu Ying admitted that they had lost  focus despite taking a handsome 11-3 lead at the interval of the second set, before allowing the Japanese pair to get back in the game and going on to win.

“The pressure was on us after we lost the first set and wanted to win the second set badly but unfortunately we didn’t perform,” she said.

The last time Malaysia tasted a victory in the All England was in 2017 when Datuk Lee Chong Wei overpowered Shi Yu Qi of China 21-12, 21-10 in the men’s singles final. — Bernama

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