Zii Jia heads for short holiday to recharge for next year’s Malaysian Open

A shuttle too high: Lee Zii Jia returning a shot to Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto (inset) during their China Masters quarter-final match. The Malaysian world No. 11 lost 11-21, 12-21 to the world No. 13. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: Professional shuttler Lee Zii Jia’s inability to break through Kenta Nishimoto’s brick-like defence cost him dearly in the men’s singles quarter-finals of the China Masters.

World No. 11 Zii Jia fell to a disappointing 11-21, 12-21 defeat at the hands of world No. 13 Nishimoto at the Shenzhen Bay Gymnasium yesterday.

Zii Jia struggled to assert his game throughout against an in-form Nishimoto, who responded well to everything thrown at him.

It was sweet revenge for the Japanese after losing to Zii Jia in the Denmark Open last month.

Overall, it was Zii Jia’s third loss to Nishimoto in nine meetings.

It is his last tournament for the year as he did not qualify for the World Tour Finals in Hangzhou, China, next month.

Zii Jia admitted that he lost to a better player on the day.

“I think Kenta played a very good defensive game today (yesterday),” said Zii Jia.

“My attacking shots did not give me a lot of advantage in this match.

“It was quite a disappointing match for me.”

Zii Jia acknowledged that he still had a lot to improve on after a rollercoaster year ended with the tame defeat.

In the first half of the year, he had suffered early round defeats in all his individual tournaments except the back-to-back All-England and Swiss Opens in March where he reached the semi-finals.

His best achievement was capturing the Arctic Open title in Vantaa, Finland, last month.

Zii Jia had also finished runners-up in the Denmark Open.

“Towards the end of the year, my performance got better and better,” said the 25-year-old.

“I think every match this year taught me a different lesson.

“But I still need to work on many things and hopefully, I can be more consistent next year.

“I’m going to have a holiday after this before returning to training,” added Zii Jia, whose next assignment will be the Malaysian Open from Jan 9-14 in Bukit Jalil.

Meanwhile, Nishimoto will next take on world No. 35 homester Zhao Junpeng, who fought hard to overcome Taiwan’s Lin Chun-yi 18-21, 21-17, 21-15 in another last-eight clash.



Men’s singles: Kenta Nishimoto (Jpn) bt Lee Zii Jia (Mas) 21-11, 21-12; Zhao Junpeng (Chn) bt Lin Chun-yi (Tpe) 18-21, 21-17, 21-15.

Women’s singles: Wang Zhiyi (Chn) bt Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn) 21-13, 11-21, 21-8; Han Yue (Chn) bt Zhang Yiman (Chn) 21-5, 19-21, 21-17.

Women’s doubles: Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) bt Zhang Shuxian-Zheng Yu (Chn) 24-22, 21-13.

Mixed doubles: Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt Jiang Zhenbang-Wei Yaxin (Chn) 21-12, 21-6; Feng Yanzhe-Huang Dongping (Chn) bt Kim Won-ho-Jeong Na-eun (Kor) 21-16, 22-20; Seo Seung-jae-Chae Yu-jung (Kor) bt Cheng Xing-Chen Fanghui (Chn) 16-21, 21-18, 21-17; Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (Hkg) bt Dechapol Puavaranukroh- Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) 21-12, 21-12.

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