Lee Zii Jia couldn't ask for a better draw at the upcoming BWF World Tour Finals, which begins on Wednesday, as he was not drawn into the group of death.
The Malaysian men’s singles shuttler was drawn in Group B alongside K. Srikanth (India), Kunvalut Vitidsarn (Thailand) and Toma Junior Popov (France).
That meant world number one Kento Momota was drawn into Group A, alongside Viktor Axelsen, currently the most in-form men’s singles shuttler on the planet, Rasmus Gemke and Lakshya Sen.
Lee should feel confident of his chances of progressing to the semi-finals against opponents whom he holds better head-to-head records against.
In the men’s doubles, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi should also fancy their chances of making the last four after they were paired against Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi (Japan), Pramudya Kusumawardana-Yeremia Erich (Indonesia) and Christo-Junior Popov (France) in Group B.
Group A contains top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo dan Tokyo Olympic champions Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin, as well as Denmark’s Kim Astrup-Anders Rasmussen and India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty.
Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, meanwhile, missed out by a whisker after they crashed out in the second round of the Indonesia Open.
The pair’s non-participation at the Hylo Open last month also proved costly as they missed out on crucial ranking points.
In the women’s doubles, Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah are in Group A along with Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajonglai (Thailand), Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong (South Korea) and Indonesia’s Olympic champions Greysia Polli-Apriyani Rahayu.
The national contingent are represented in the mixed doubles by Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, who are both in Group A together with Japan’s Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino and Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen-Alexandra Boje.
The BWF World Tour Finals marks the final tournament in Bali before the season-ending World Championships in Spain later next month.