Expect fireworks as Zii Jia clashes with Chen Long in last 16

Chen Long of China beats Spain's Pablo Abian in the men's singles group match in Tokyo. - AP

PETALING JAYA: National No. 1 Lee Zii Jia continues his relentless march in his first Olympic Games by checking into the last 16 knockout stage in style.

The 23-year-old took only 35 minutes to crush Brice Leverdez of France 21-17, 21-5 to emerge as the Group M champion on Wednesday.

Only group champions advance to the knockout stage.

Zii Jia, who is chasing to be Malaysia's first Olympics gold medal winner, has set up a tricky match against defending champion Chen Long of China in the last 16.

The 32-year-old Chen Long was equally impressive in his 21-11, 21-10 win over Pablo Abian of Spain in 45 minutes in Group N.

Chen Long last met Zii Jia at last year's All-England quarter-finals, where the Malaysian pulled off a surprise win.

Expect their re-match after more than a year to go down the wire.

The singles knockout competition will start from 5pm on Thursday.

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