AARHUS, Oct 11 — Rejuvenated youngster Brian Yang is not going to give an easy win to national men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia in the Thomas Cup Group D clash between Malaysia and Canada tomorrow night (1am Wednesday in Malaysia).
In fact, the current sensation in the men’s singles, will be eyeing to avenge his defeat to the Malaysian skipper at the All England tournament in March.
During their only encounter, world number eight Zii Jia easily brushed off Brian 21-13 21-10 in the first round enroute to clinching the prestigious All England title.
However, Brian, ranked 39 in the world, has shown a great progress after a two-month training stint at the Peter Gade Academy in Denmark, followed by a shorter stint with Tokyo Olympics champion Viktor Axelsen in Dubai.
At the recent Sudirman Cup, the 19-year-old Canadian sprang a surprise against world number seven Jonatan Christie of Indonesia winning 9-21, 22-20, 21-18, followed by another upset against world number 13 Kanta Tsuneyama 21-18, 19-21, 21-13 even though Canada lost 1-4 to Japan in the Thomas Cup Group D opener on Sunday.
“I watched Zii Jia’s games alot, he is one of the top players. He has an exceptional attack, I have to be ready on the defence.
“Just looking forward to play against him again after losing in All England and just see how much I have improved and perhaps to see if I can beat him this time, but I am not trying to put a lot of expectations on myself,” he said when met at the Ceres Arena here.
Commenting further, the Canadian, who clinched the Peru International and Denmark Masters titles this year, credited his hard work and training stints for his vast improvement.
“In the past two or three months while I was in Europe and Dubai, I was working really hard, it has paid off so far. So I am going to continue doing my best in training and tournament so that I can go higher and higher in the rankings,” he added.
With the withdrawal of England in the tournament, the winner between Malaysia and Canada will secure the ticket to the quarter-finals, while 2018 runners-up Japan are the clear favourites to grab the first slot at the top of the group.
On paper, Malaysia should be able to beat Canada, who are also powered by the world number 46 Jason Anthony Ho-Shue, B.R. Sankeerth as well as Phillipe Charron, Maxime Tetreault and Nyl Yakura.
Malaysia will be counting on the likes of Ng Tze Yong, Cheam June Wei, Leong Jun Hao and Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin for the second and third singles, while Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik will be leading the doubles department with Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzudin Rumsani, Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun and Low Hang Yee. — Bernama