Zii Jia in All-England semis after defeating Japan's Kodai Naraoka


PETALING JAYA: Lee Zii Jia (pic) has made it to the All-England semi-finals after defeating Japan's world no. 6 Kodai Naraoka.

The independent men's singles shuttler defeated Naraoka 21-9, 10-21, 21-13 over three games in Birmingham, England late Friday (March 17).

The victory enabled Zii Jia to even the score with Naraoka, whom he narrowly lost to in the first round of the Malaysian Open in January.

Zii Jia admitted he wasn't at his best but was improving as the tournament progresses,

"I'm maybe 70% of my best at the moment. I'm still trying to find the best version of me," he said after the match.

"I didn't think as far as the semi-finals from the start.

"I just try to focus match by match and try to get back my confidence. As you can see yesterday and today, I think I did well.

"The main point today was to be patient against him. We all know he's a good defensive player." said Zii Jia.

Zii Jia faces another tough test next in the next round when he goes up against China's world No. 12 Shi Yuqi for a place in the final.

The 24-year-old Malaysian needs to be on his toes as he has only beaten Yuqi once in four meetings, with his sole victory coming in the 2020 Malaysian Masters.

In their last encounter, Zii Jia lost to Yuqi in the final of the Denmark Open last October.

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