PETALING JAYA: Shuttler Lee Zii Jia made life difficult for himself before reaching the singles semi-finals in the Hylo Open.
The world No. 8 took 41 minutes to beat Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-13, 22-20 in Saarbrucken but not after being stretched to the limit in the second game.
The 23-year-old Zii Jia won the opening game without much fuss but struggled in the second against a determined opponent who took a massive 16-6 lead.
Zii Jia clawed his way back into the game to pick up 10 points in a row and levelled the score at 16-16.
Both players were then locked in a close fight but the Malaysian managed to pull through.
With the win, Zii Jia’s head-to-head record against the Thai now stands at 3-3.
On Thursday, the All-England champ also struggled in the opening game before defeating Ireland’s Nguyen Nhat 22-20, 21-16 in the second round.
Zii Jia will now face the winner of the match between India’s K. Srikanth and Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long for a place in the final.
Men’s singles: Lee Zii Jia (Mas) bt Kantaphon Wangcharoen (Tha) 21-13, 22-20.
Men’s doubles: Pramudya Kusumawardana-Yeremia Erich (Ina) bt Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto (Ina) 21-11, 25-23; Supak Jomkoh-Kittinupong Kedren (Tha) bt Ben Lane-Sean Vendy (Eng) 21-18, 20-22, 21-18.
Men’s singles: K. Srikanth (Ind) bt Lee Dong-keun (Kor) 21-9, 19-21, 21-10; Rasmus Gemke (Den) bt Kodai Naraoka (Jpn) 19-21, 22-20, 21-9; Lakshya Sen (Ind) bt Wang Tzu-wei (Tpe) 21-17, 21-15; Angus Ng Ka Long (Hkg) bt Tommy Sugiarto (Ina) 22-20, 21-16; Lee Zii Jia (Mas) bt Nguyen Nhat (Vie) 22-20, 21-16; Loh Kean Yew (Sin) bt Toma Junior Popov (Fra) 21-15, 11-21, 21-15; Kunvalut Vitidsarn (Tha) bt Lee Cheuk Yiu (Hkg) 21-17, 21-19.
Men’s doubles: Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina) bt Tan Kian Meng-Tan Wee Kiong (Mas) 21-14, 21-18; Pramudya Kusumawardana-Yeremia Erich (Ina) bt Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han (Tpe) 25-23, 14-21, 21-19; Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya (Ina) bt Ruben Jille-Ties van Der Lecq (Ned) 23-21, 21-18; Leo Rolly-Daniel Marthin (Ina) bt Alexander Dunn-Adam Hall (Sco) 21-16, 21-11.
Matches involving Malaysians in other events
Women’s doubles: Puttita Supajirakul-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Vivian Hoo-Lim Chiew Sien 21-8, 21-6;
Mixed doubles: Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Hoo Pang Roon-Cheah Yee See 21-10, 21-19; Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei bt Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith (Eng) 18-21, 21-11, 21-14.