Win over Nishimoto means a lot to me, says Zii Jia

PETALING JAYA: A win that means so much.

Independent men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia was a relieved man after finally getting over the early round hurdle in individual tournaments at the seventh attempt.

World No. 4 Zii Jia could not have chosen a bigger World Tour event to end his poor run as he secured a commanding 21-15, 21-10 victory over Japan’s world No. 15 Kenta Nishimoto to reach the quarter-finals in the All-England at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham on Thursday.

The 24-year-old had captured his biggest title in the 2021 edition and being back in the tournament seemed to bring out some of his best form.

Zii Jia was glad to put behind the disappointment of losing in the early rounds of all his individual competitions since finishing runner-up in the Denmark Open last October.

“This win means a lot to me,” Zii Jia said in a post-match interview with SPOTV.

“I feel this is my best match so far this year. I’m still trying to regain my confidence and I feel much better after this win.”

The win was Zii Jia’s fourth straight triumph over Nishimoto in their past five meetings.

Zii Jia next faces his biggest test of the tournament – world No. 6 Kodai Naraoka.

Zii Jia had agonisingly lost out 21-13, 17-21, 19-21 to Naraoka in the Malaysian Open in January.

On his match against the Japanese, Zii Jia said: “Hopefully, I can maintain my performance after the win and take this as an opportunity to gain revenge over Naraoka.

In other matches, China’s world No. 12 Shi Yuqi stunned Thailand’s world No. 7 and Indian Open champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn 21-12, 21-13, who has been struggling with an ankle injury.

Indonesia’s world No. 3 Anthony Ginting survived a huge tussle against India’s world No. 9 H.S. Prannoy before prevailing 22-20, 15-21, 21-17 to set-up a match against Denmark’s Anders Antonsen next.

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