Zii Jia makes it to quarter-finals, but still seeking the best version of himself

Malaysia men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia in action.

PETALING JAYA: World No. 10 Lee Zii Jia says he is still not at his best despite reaching the Thailand Open quarter-finals in Bangkok without much trouble yesterday.

The independent shuttler secured a 22-20, 21-7 win over Jeon Hyeok-jin of South Korea in a 36-minute second-round clash.

Despite leading throughout the first game, Zii Jia had allowed Hyeok-jin to save three game points at 20-17 before securing a 22-20 win.

However, the Malaysian was fluent in the second and cruised to an easy win to set up a last eight clash against world No. 19 Lu Guangzu today.

Zii Jia is quietly confident as he had beaten Guangzu four times in six meetings.

“Happy to win as the first game was tough and I was calmer in the second and was I able follow my game plan,” said Zii Jia.

“I am still in search of my best performance and I believe I will be able to achieve that anytime in the five tournaments I will play.”

Zii Jia will be competing in the Malaysian Masters from May 21-26 and is also expected to play in the Singapore (May 28-June 2), Indonesia (June 4-9) and the Australian (June 11-16) Opens where he will be trying to gain momentum before the 2024 Paris Olympics from July 27-Aug 5.

A job well done: Choong Hon Jian (left) and Haikal Nazri advanced to the last eight after beating Thailand’s Pharanyu Kaosamang-Worrapol Thongsa-nga. — BernamaA job well done: Choong Hon Jian (left) and Haikal Nazri advanced to the last eight after beating Thailand’s Pharanyu Kaosamang-Worrapol Thongsa-nga. — Bernama

Meanwhile, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) shuttler Leong Jun Hao came close to toppling world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand before suffering a 22-20, 14-21, 21-23 defeat in 92 minutes.

Jun Hao held match point at 20-19 in the third game before Kunlavut regrouped to secure a 23-21 win.

In the men’s doubles, Choong Hon Jian-Haikal Nazri and Wan Arif Wan Junaidi-Yap Roy King advanced to the last eight with straight forward victories.

Hon Jian-Haikal secured a 21-17, 21-10 win over Thailand’s Pharanyu Kaosamang-Worrapol Thongsa-nga while Arif-Roy King overcame Daniel Lundgaard-Mads Vestergaard of Denmark 21-14, 21-13 in the second round.

However, Haikal said it wasn’t easy especially in the first game as he wasn’t comfortable and didn’t play well.

“I didn’t really play well in the first game and made a lot of errors and there was also miscommunication between us during the match,” said Haikal.

“I think our opponents managed to counter our game plan and made a little difficult for us but in the second game, everything well.”

Hon Jian-Haikal will play Taiwan’s Lu Ming-che-Tang Kai-wei where the Malaysian pair will be hoping to repeat their win against the Taiwan pair in the Indonesia Masters last year.

However, Arif-Roy King face an uphill task as they will take on world No. 3 Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty of India in the last eight today.

Second round

(Malaysians unless stated)

Men’s singles: Lee Zii Jia bt Jeon Hyeok-jin (Kor) 22-20, 21-7; Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Tha) bt Leong Jun Hao 20-22, 21-14, 23-21.

Men’s doubles: Choong Hon Jian-Haikal Nazri bt Pharanyu Kaosamang-Worrapol Thongsa-nga 21-17, 21-10; Wan Arif Wan Junaidi-Yap Roy King bt Daniel Lundgaard-Mads Vestergaard (Den) 21-14, 21-13.

Mixed doubles: Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Yap Roy King-Valeree Siow 21-11, 21-16; Rehan Naufal-Lisa Ayu (Ina) bt Choong Hon Jian-Go Pei Kee 21-15, 21-15.

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Badminton , Lee Zii Jia , Thailand Open


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