A string of good recent results has seemingly left Michelle Li confident of doing well at the PERODUA Malaysia Masters 2023 presented by DAIHATSU.
How well? The world No.15 is not shy to admit she has set herself a target of going all the way at the Axiata Arena this week.
Asked what she aims to achieve in Kuala Lumpur after the 21-19 13-21 21-9 first round win over Yeo Jia Min, Li unflinchingly responded: “I want to win.” The tournament? “Oh yeah. 100 per cent.”
Her raw optimism stems not only from ending a three-year title wait at the Canada Open seven months ago and becoming the Pan Am champion for the sixth time in April; the 31-year-old also shone in the group matches she played for Canada at the TotalEnergies Sudirman Cup Finals 2023 last week. In Suzhou, she stretched Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon to three games before ending the campaign with a straight games victory over Yvonne Li.
A tight travel schedule made her results all the more impressive.
“It took me two days to reach Suzhou from Canada but I’ll never use that as an excuse for my performances. Travelling and competing is just the norm these days,” said Li. “I did okay there, I can learn from those matches and carry it on to the next tournaments.”
Li, who now has a team in place to aid her quest of qualifying for a fourth successive Olympic Games at Paris 2024, added: “I always do analysis. You want to make sure you are ready before the match no matter who you play and you work on your game as well.”
In the second round, Li will face Pornpawee Chochuwong, an opponent she has not played since 2019 but has a 2-1 head-to-head lead over.
Not that it plays a part in her preparation.
“It doesn’t really matter what happened in the past. She’s been playing well, and obviously a top player. I’m going to make sure I’m prepared for what she brings.”
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