Zii Jia and Kean Yew headed for potential last-eight clash


Singapore’s reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew could provide a stern test for Lee Zii Jia in his quest to win the Indonesian Open.

Pitted in the same half of the draw, Zii Jia and Kean Yew could meet in the quarter-finals if they win their opening two matches.

Kean Yew has not been at his best since being crowned world champion last year but showed glimpses of best form when he reached the semi-finals of the just-concluded Indonesian Masters.

The world No. 10 narrowly missed out on the final after he lost a thrilling three-game encounter against Taiwan’s No. 4 Chou Tien-chen.

World No. 5 Zii Jia, meanwhile, will be out to bounce back after seeing his unbeaten streak since the Asian Championships in April come to an end when he lost another close-fought battle against sixth ranked home player Anthony Ginting in the Masters quarter-finals.

The Malaysian should win his opening two matches against Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin and the winner of the all-Indian match between Sameer Verma and P. Kashyap.Kean Yew, though, faces a trickier route to the quarter-finals as he opens his campaign against South Korea’s Heo Kwang-hee and a win could pit him against Denmark’s world No. 3 Anders Antonsen.

His chances of defeating both players, however, look bright after his recent improved showing.

Antonsen, on the other hand, has been suffering from a slump in form this year.

Thus, all indications point towards a mouth-watering quarter-final clash between Zii Jia and his Singaporean rival.

Zii Jia holds a narrow 3-2 advantage in their head-to-head clashes and came out on top in their last encounter in the Asian Team Championships in February.

But Kean Yew got the better of the Malaysian in both matches last year in the Hylo and French Opens.

Meanwhile, the others to look out for in the upper half of the draw are Denmark’s newly crowned Indonesian Masters champion and top seed Viktor Axelsen and Anthony.

In the lower half of the draw, the danger could come from Japan’s Kento Momota, India’s Thomas Cup winners Lakshya Sen and K. Srikanth, Thailand’s Hanoi SEA Games champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn, Taiwan’s Indonesian Masters runner-up Chou Tien-chen and home star Jonatan Christie.

Zii Jia’s training partner Liew Daren is also in the lower half of the draw and opens his campaign against Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu.

He faces an uphill battle if he wins as he will be pitted against either Kunlavut or Tien-chen in the second round.


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