Former champion Lee Zii Jia is desperate for a change in fortunes at the upcoming All-England, but he can take some encouragement from his excellent recent records at this prestigious event.
In the last three editions of the world’s oldest badminton tournament that is held in Birmingham annually, Lee won the men’s singles title once and reached the semi-finals twice.
A controversial umpire net call denied him a momentous victory over Viktor Axelsen in 2020, before he avenged that loss by taming the Dane in the 2021 final.
Last year, Lee went the distance against Lakshya Sen in the semis, but lost out in the deciding game 19-21.
As he prepares to face Sitthikom Thamasin in the first round tht begins on Tuesday, the Malaysian finds himself in a position where he has not progressed beyond the second round in four events so far this year.
The fourth seed may find himself without a coach too if Liew Daren plays his match at the same time as Lee.
Meanwhile, national men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik were also a huge letdown in Germany last week after crashing out in the second round.
The second seeds have promising Indonesians Daniel Marthin-Leo Rolly Carnando for company in the first round, and if they do not improve from last week, could be staring at another early exit.
Unlike their peers, Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah will come into this Super 1000 meet with confidence.
The national women’s doubles pair are the most in-form Malaysian shuttlers of the lot after reaching their third semi-finals of the season in Germany.
While they must find a way to break that semis jinx, the world number six duo have improved in every event and they will fancy their chances against Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara whom they beat last week.
In the mixed doubles, Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei will aim to continue building on their chemistry with another good outing.
The new pair have been consistent since paired late last year, even winning two lower-tier events in Bangladesh and Iran.
In fact, the world number 43 pair could progress the furthest of the three Malaysian pairs in that discipline.
Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai are up against tough Indonesian and South Korean opponents, and their recent form doesn’t look promising.
Ng Tze Yong will be out to enjoy the experience of a high profile tournament when he faces Shesar Hiren Rhustavito, while Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi are seeking to prove a point when they face reigning Olympic champs Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin.