Lee Zii Jia
李梓嘉
Lee Zii Jia.jpg
Lee in 2020
Personal information
CountryMalaysia
Born (1998-03-29) 29 March 1998 (age 24)
Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia[1]
ResidenceBukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia[2]
Height1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)[2]
Years active2016–present
HandednessRight[1]
CoachIndra Wijaya[3]
Men's singles
Career record213 wins, 93 losses
Highest ranking4 (30 August 2022)
Current ranking4 (30 August 2022)
BWF profile

Lee Zii Jia (Chinese: 李梓嘉; pinyin: Lǐ Zǐjiā, born 29 March 1998) is a Malaysian badminton player. He was the men's singles gold medalist at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and won his first BWF Super 1000 title at the 2021 All England Open.[4] Lee is the reigning men's singles Asian champion, winning the title at the 2022 Badminton Asia Championships.

Early life

Lee Zii Jia was born in Alor Setar, Kedah to Chinese Malaysians Lee Chee Hin and Leow Siet Peng, teachers and former basketball internationals.[5] He was first introduced to badminton by his parents at the age of 6. In his earlier years, he studied at Keat Hwa H Primary School in Alor Setar, Kedah. Due to his results in the under 12 competition, he was soon drafted into the Bukit Jalil Sports School.[citation needed]

Career

2015

In 2015, he became the junior champion in the Perak and Selangor Badminton Open. These standout performances and wins in the international circuit earned him a place in the Badminton Association of Malaysia.[citation needed]

2016

In November 2016, Lee won a bronze medal in the World Junior Championships after losing to Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo in the semifinals. In the same month, he advanced to the final of India International Series but was defeated by Lakshya Sen.[citation needed]

2017

In February 2017, Lee reached the semifinals of the Thailand Masters, where he lost to Kantaphon Wangcharoen. In September 2017, he won his first senior title at the Polish International, against Soong Joo Ven in the final. In November 2017, Lee reached the semifinals of the Bitburger Open.[6]

2018

In October 2018, Lee reached the final of the Chinese Taipei Open by defeating the World No. 4 men's singles player, Chou Tien-chen in the semifinals. He defeated Riichi Takeshita in the final to win his first BWF World Tour title and second international title overall.[7][8] In doing so, he became the second Malaysian other than Lee Chong Wei to win a BWF top flight men's singles title since 2013.[citation needed] Lee then reached the final of the Korea Masters but lost to Son Wan-ho.[9]

2019

Lee started the 2019 season by competing in the Thailand Masters. He lost in the quarter finals to Brice Leverdez of France in straight games.[10] In the next tournaments, he also finished in the quarter finals in Malaysia Masters, Indonesia Masters, and German Open.[11] He later lost in the early stage of Swiss, Malaysia, and Singapore Open's.[12][13] He admitted that he had struggled to cope with financial difficulties, lack of progress and unfairness that affected his performance.[12]

In August, Lee finally managed to make it into the semi-finals in the Thailand Open, where he lost to Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan. This was nonetheless an improvement to his being a quarter finalist in New Zealand and Indonesia Open's.[11][14] He qualified to compete in World Championships in Basel, Switzerland, but lost to the World No. 1 men's singles player, and the eventual World Champion, Kento Momota of Japan in the quarter finals.[15] In November, he was forced to retire in the second round of the China Open, and decided to withdraw as well from the next tournament in Hong Kong, due suffering from food poisoning and fever.[16][17] Lee reached world No. 11 in the BWF World ranking on 12 November. In December, he won the men's singles gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games,[18] and also helped the national men's team win the silver medal.[19]

2020: Break Into Top 10 World Ranking

Lee opened the season by participating in Southeast Asian tours in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand Masters, with his best result being a semi-finalist in Malaysia, wherein he lost to the world number 1 Kento Momota in straight games.[20] In February, he alongside Malaysia men's team, won the silver medal at the Asia Team Championships,[21] during which time he was the national team captain[22] He won 4 out of 5 matches in the Asia Team Championships, losing in the final match against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.[23]

Later in March, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe, the German Open was cancelled. Lee's next tournament was the All England Open, which was also be his debut at the tournament because his ranking was previously too low to qualify.[24] He won against Jonatan Christie, who had won in four previous matches.[25] He continued this win streak against Lu Guangzu and the then-Olympic champion Chen Long.[26] In the semi-finals, he lost to Viktor Axelsen. The match lasted for 73 minutes.[27] Further, Lee's performance at the All England Open raised his world ranking to no. 10 on 17 March 2020.[28]

2021: All England Open title

In March, Lee won his first Super 1000 tournament at the All England Open, defeating the defending champion Viktor Axelsen by a score of 30–29, 20–22, 21–9.[29] In July 2021, in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Lee took part in the men's singles and won against Artem Pochtarov with a score of 21–5 and 21–11. In the subsequent match against Brice Leverdez, he won with a score of 21–17 and 21–5. Lee was eliminated in the round of 16, where he was defeated by Chen Long with a score of 21–8, 19–21, and 5–21.[30] On 7 November 2021, Lee reached the final of Hylo Open, however Lee had to retire due to the injuries he sustained while playing against Singapore's Loh Kean Yew with a score of 21–19, 13–21, 12–17.[31]

2022: Leaving BAM and subsequent ban, Asian champion

In January 2022, there were speculation that Lee had indicated his intention to leave the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), citing unhappiness with the association, though reasons were never disclosed.[32] He eventually officially resigned on 19 January.[33] In response, Lee was banned for two years from participating in any international tournaments that required BAM's approval as well as any Badminton World Federation (BWF)–sanctioned tournaments.[34] With the public and international players responding negatively on the ban, Lee appealed against the ban on 24 January 2022.[35] The ban was lifted after Lee and BAM met on 25 January 2022, with the terms yet to be revealed.[36]

In May, Lee won his first title of the year, the 2022 Badminton Asia Championships, defeating Indonesia's Jonatan Christie 21–17, 23–21 in straight sets.[37] Lee became the sixth Malaysian men's singles player to win the Asian Championships title. On 22 May 2022, Lee won his first BWF World Tour Super 500 title at the 2022 Thailand Open, defeating China's Li Shifeng with a rubber set score of 17–21, 21–11, 23–21 in 70 minutes.[38]

In June, Lee participated in 3 events: the Indonesia Masters, the Indonesia Open and the Malaysia Open, his home event.

At the Indonesia Masters, Lee, the 5th seed, lost to the 4th seeded Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the quarter-finals in 3 games, 21–18, 15–21, 16–21.[39]

A week later, Lee lost to Viktor Axelsen, the World No 1 at the Indonesia Open semi-finals, with a score of 21–19, 11–21, 21–23 in 70 minutes.[40]

In late June, Lee took part in the Malaysia Open as the 5th seed. He surprisingly lost to Indonesia's Shesar Hiren Rhustavito in the Round of 16 in 3 games, 19–21, 21–19, 16–21 in an hour and six minutes.[41]

Due to his injury, he decided to skip the Commonwealth Games and focus on the upcoming World Championships which would be held in August.[42] As the fifth seed in World Championships, he lost to China's shuttler Zhao Junpeng in the third round in three games, with a match score of 19–21, 21–11, 19–21. The match lasted for an hour and five minutes.[43]

A week later, Lee lost to Kidambi Srikanth, the Former World No 1 at the Round of 32 of Japan Open, with a score of 20–22, 21-23 in 38 minutes.[44]

Achievements

Asian Championships

Men's singles

Year Venue Opponent Score Result
2022 Muntinlupa Sports Complex, Metro Manila, Philippines Indonesia Jonatan Christie 21–17, 23–21
Gold
Gold

Southeast Asian Games

Men's singles

Year Venue Opponent Score Result
2019 Muntinlupa Sports Complex, Metro Manila, Philippines Singapore Loh Kean Yew 21–18, 21–18
Gold
Gold

BWF World Junior Championships

Boys' singles

Year Venue Opponent Score Result
2016 Bilbao Arena, Bilbao, Spain Indonesia Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo 19–21, 18–21
Bronze
Bronze

BWF World Tour (3 titles, 2 runners-up)

The BWF World Tour, which was announced on 19 March 2017 and implemented in 2018,[45] is a series of elite badminton tournaments sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). The BWF World Tour is divided into levels of World Tour Finals, Super 1000, Super 750, Super 500, Super 300 (part of the HSBC World Tour), and the BWF Tour Super 100.[46]

Men's singles

Year Tournament Level Opponent Score Result
2018 Chinese Taipei Open Super 300 Japan Riichi Takeshita 21–17, 16–21, 21–11 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2018 Korea Masters Super 300 South Korea Son Wan-ho 16–21, 11–21 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2021 All England Open Super 1000 Denmark Viktor Axelsen 30–29, 20–22, 21–9 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2021 Hylo Open Super 500 Singapore Loh Kean Yew 21–19, 13–21, 12–17r 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2022 Thailand Open Super 500 China Li Shifeng 17–21, 21–11, 23–21 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner

BWF International Challenge/Series (1 title, 1 runner-up)

Men's singles

Year Tournament Opponent Score Result
2016 India International Series India Lakshya Sen 13–11, 3–11, 6–11, 6–11 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2017 Polish International Malaysia Soong Joo Ven 21–17, 21–16 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
  BWF International Challenge tournament
  BWF International Series tournament

Record against selected opponents

Record against year-end Finals finalists, World Championships semi finalists, and Olympic quarter finalists. Accurate as of 7 September 2022.[47]

Notes

References

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  2. ^ a b "BWF Lee Zii Jia Profile". BWF.
  3. ^ "Indra Wijaya to be Zii Jia's coach". The Star. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  4. ^ "Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia lifts 2021 All England title after defeating Denmark's Viktor Axelsen".
  5. ^ Fabian Peter (27 December 2020). "PMM2020: Zii Jia ready for a 'fresh start' - Choong Hann". Badminton Association of Malaysia. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  6. ^ Fabian Peter (5 November 2017). "Bit off more than he could chew: Zii Jia slayed at Bitburger Open". New Straits Times. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  7. ^ Seng Foo (7 October 2018). "Zii Jia wins maiden BWF World Tour title". Stadium Astro. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
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  45. ^ Alleyne, Gayle (19 March 2017). "BWF Launches New Events Structure". Badminton World Federation. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
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