BUKIT JALIL: Men's singles Lee Zii Jia is hell-bent on burying the ghost of his past as he reached the second round of the Malaysia Masters at the Axiata Arena on Wednesday.
Zii Jia, who crashed out in the second round of the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games last August, kept a cool head to see off Denmark's Emil Holst 21-12, 21-18 in the opening stage.
"I must admit that the past kept haunting me, even before the match started. I didn't want the nightmare from the Sea Games last year to repeat itself," said the 20-year-old Kedah-born, who will take on Indonesia's Jonatan Christie next.
"Thankfully, my coach kept me composed. He advised me to not think too much about winning, and made sure I warmed up well.
"I played good in the first game, but made too many mistakes in the second. As a result, it was a tight game. I'm just happy to have made it to the second round.
"Tomorrow, I play Jonatan, who is the reigning Sea Games gold medallist. I know it will be tough, but I'm ready to put my past behind. I will definitely give my best to try and make the third round," added Zii Jia, who also made the provisional list for the Thomas Cup in Bangkok in May.
Last year, expectations were high on Zii Jia to perform at the Sea Games, but the World No 42 crumbled under pressure when he crashed out in the second round of the men's singles event to Indonesia's Ihsan Maulana Mustofa.
In the women's doubles, Soong Fie Cho-Tee Jing Yi also made it to the second round after a 21-16, 21-18 win over China's Liu Xuanxuan-Zhou Chaomin on Wednesday.
The Malaysians, however, face a tall order as they are up against World No 1 Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan, also from China, next.