PETALING JAYA: Singaporean shuttler Loh Kean Yew is one name that will definitely spell trouble in Lee Zii Jia’s aspirations for the men’s singles title at the Philippines SEA Games next month.
World No. 13 Zii Jia got a glimpse of what the 22-year-old from the south is capable of when the Malaysian suffered a scare in the opening round of the Fuzhou China Open before overcoming world No. 31 Kean Yew 19-21,21-18,21-12 in the first round yesterday.
The 21-year-old Zii Jia had to dig deep to fight his way back from 3-9 and 13-17 down in the second game to make it 16-18.
Zii Jia then took charge, winning the next five points to tie the match at one game a-piece.
It was only in the third game that Zii Jia was able to find a foothold and win convincingly.
“He came out fast and took control of the first game. In the second I almost gave up but I kept on fighting and slowly I managed to whittle down the difference and my confidence started to return, ” said Zii Jia.
“I came very close to losing but I’m really glad I managed turn things around in the last game.”
Zii Jia’s battles will only get tougher now with a second round match-up against world No. 1 and reigning world champion Kento Momota of Japan.
Momota came out on top in the first round, winning the first game 21-17 against independent player Liew Daren, before the Malaysian retired due to illness and fever.
Zii Jia has so far been no match for the Japanese, having lost in their last four meetings. All four ended in straight games.
“It’s very difficult to beat Momota but I will be ready for him tomorrow (today) and I hope that I can at least give him a much closer fight this time around.”
Meanwhile in the mixed doubles event, world No. 14 Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing carried their strong form from the French Open two weeks ago to dismiss Taiwanese pair Lee Yang-Yang Ching-tun 21-10,21-16 in the first round yesterday.
But it was the end of the road for the world No. 21 men’s doubles pair of Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi who were tamed 17-21,10-21 by 17th-ranked Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han of Taiwan.
Men’s singles: Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Kanta Tsuneyama (Jpn) 21-15,21-19; Jan O Jorgensen (Den) bt Khosit Phetpradab (Tha) 21-10,21-14; Angus Ng Ka Long bt Anthony Ginting (Ina) 21-18,21-9; Kento Momota (Jpn) bt Liew Daren (Mas) 21-17 (rtd) ; Rasmus Gemke (Den) bt H. S. Prannoy (Ind) 21-17,21-18; Lee Zii Jia (Mas) bt Loh Kean Yew (Sin) 19-21,21-18,21-12.
Men’s doubles: Mark Lamsfuss-Marvin Seidel (Ger) bt Lee Jhe-huei-Yang Po-hsuan (Tpe) 21-19,25-27,21-15; Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong (Chn) bt Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi (Jpn) 19-21,21-16,21-16; Hiroyuki Endo -Yuta Watanabe (Jpn) bt Wahyu Arya Pangkaryanira-Ade Santoso (Ina) 24-22,21-13; Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han (Tpe) bt Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (Mas) 21-17,21-10; He Jiting-Tan Qiang (Chn) bt Vladmir Ivanow-Ivan Sozonov (Rus) 22-20,13-21,27-25; Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind) bt Phillip Chew-Ryan Chew (US) 21-9,21-15; Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (Mas) 21-15,21-16.
(Matches involving Malaysians only)
Women’s doubles: Dong Wenjing-Feng Xueying (Chn) bt Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen (Mas) 21-15,21-9.
Mixed doubles: Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing bt Lee Yang-Yang Ching-tun (Tpe) 21-10,21-16.
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