THE Causeway battle between Asian champion Lee Zii Jia and world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore is expected to be a titanic affair in the men’s singles quarter-finals of the Indonesia Open tomorrow.
Zii Jia believes he is ready to face his childhood rival, Kean Yew, following his impressive 21-10, 21-13 win over India’s world No 30 Sameer Verma in the last 16 today.
The 24-year-old feels his game has improved after each match in the tournament. On Tuesday, the Malaysian recovered from a 10-6 deficit in the first game to beat Thailand’s Sittikorn Thammasin 21-15, 21-14 in the opening round at Istora Senayan Stadium in Jakarta.
Kean Yew earned his quarter-final spot by overcoming Frenchman Toma Junior Popov 21-16, 21-9.
“In the first match (against Sittikorn), I was struggling a little in the beginning, but today, my condition was better,” said Zii Jia in a post-match interview in Jakarta.
“I feel I am ready to face tougher opponents from the next round. I am glad that I am prepared for the challenge,” added the world No 5, who is looking to make up for his quarter-final exit from last week’s Indonesia Masters.
“The most important thing about playing back-to-back tournaments is maintaining focus. My goal is to regain my focus as the current tournament progresses.”
Assistant coach Liew Daren echoed Zii Jia’s sentiments.
“It’s good to see him regain his form and focus. Last week, he only played up to Friday.
“It is always a challenge for any player to regroup after a three-day interval in-between tournaments.
“But Zii Jia did very well and looked very comfortable on the court today,” said Daren, adding that the match between Zii Jia and Kean Yew will be a nail-biting affair.
“It will be an interesting match. Kean Yew is looking sharp as well,” said Daren, who took charge of Zii Jia on behalf of coach Indra Wijaya today.
Zii Jia, who defeated Kean Yew at the Asian Team Championships in February, holds a 4-2 head-to-head record over the Penang-born Singaporean shuttler.