At the recently concluded BWF Arctic Open 2023, the men’s singles final featured an All-Malaysia final in the men’s singles category for the first time – Superseries or World Tour equivalent event (500 and above). Lee Zii Jia and upcoming youngster NG Tze Yong were the two players who progressed to the grand finale with the former emerging victorious.
However prior to this tournament, there were three tournaments that featured All-Malaysia final all at the Grand Prix Gold level – 2009 Macau Open, 2010 Malaysia Open and 2016 Malaysia Open. The Arctic Open triumph was Lee Zii Jia first title post the indefinite break he had taken a few months back.
The Malaysian top ranked singles player post returning from the break did not have great outings as he frequently lost in the opening few rounds. However the past few weeks have been good having progressed well at the Asian Games 2023 and then the Arctic Open title. His countrymate NG Tze Yong on the other hand progressed to his maiden final at the BWF 500 level.
In the last two BWF tournaments, the Malaysian reached the semifinals of Hong Kong Open and then went a step further to reach the final at Arctic Open. In the final, he was outclassed by the experience possessed by Lee Zii Jia losing in straight games (14-21, 15-21). Other Malaysian shuttlers in fray, Man Wei Chong/Kai Wun Tee lost to Kim Astrup and Rasmussen in straight games in the men’s doubles encounter.
Featured Image: Badminton Planet