World No. 10 Zii Jia’s flaws exposed by Tien-chen

PETALING JAYA: The challenge of Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia (pic) fizzled out but South Korean darling An Se-young sizzled as she continued her dream run in the Yonex Thailand Open.

The world No. 10 Zii Jia had hoped for a good start to the year but he was sent packing 17-21,15-21 by second seed Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan in a match that saw the latter dominating from the start at the Impact Arena in Bangkok yesterday.

It was Tien-chen’s fourth win in six meetings against the Malaysian.

National head coach Hendrawan said it was good for Zii Jia to know his shortcomings early in the year.

It was Zii Jia’s first tournament since his sensational semi-final finish at the All-England in Birmingham in March last year.

“It’s not easy to play after a long break and we in a way expected this. It’s not one of his best matches but it’s good that we know what Zii Jia lacks now, ” said Hendrawan.

“We’ve to accept that Tien-chen played above par and went all out to attack Zii Jia. Although the shuttle was slow, the Taiwanese had better quality and control of the game.”

“We’ve some time to regroup and prepare Zii Jia for the next week’s second Open in Thailand.”

Tien-chen takes on Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long next while the other semi-final will be between All-England champion Viktor Axelsen and Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting.

Axelsen spoiled a chance for an all-Indonesian semi-final when he crushed Jonatan Christie 21-14,21-5.

In the women’s singles, 18-year-old Se-young continued to make heads turn when she dumped fourth seed and home favourite Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand 22-20,21-12 in a 44-minute semi-final match.

She will take on Carolina Marin of Spain today.

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