Zii Jia aims to face Chou confidently after accomplishing two tasks en route to semis

A struggle: Lee Zii Jia marched into the Thailand Open semi-finals after beating world No. 19 Lu Guangzu of China 21-13, 16-21, 21-18. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: It was a day of double happiness for professional men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia in the Thailand Open.

Yesterday, the world No. 10 Zii Jia marched into the semi-finals of the Thailand meet after digging deep to defeat world No. 19 Lu Guangzu of China 21-13, 16-21, 21-18 in a 66-minute quarter-final clash in Bangkok.

Zii Jia got off to a strong start by claiming the first game, but Guangzu fought back, winning the second to push for a decider.

Fortunately, Zii Jia persevered and maintain his composure to seal the match in the rubber game.

This victory marks a significant breakthrough for Zii Jia, coming just in time before the Paris Olympics, as it will be his first semi-finals appearance in an individual tournament this year.

It also brought a satisfying sense of revenge for the Malaysian, who had suffered a shock defeat to Guangzu in the first round of the Malaysian Open in January.

“It was another tough match, but it was a sweet revenge for me because I lost to him in our most recent meeting,” said the 26-year-old Zii Jia.

It’s his fifth victory in seven meetings against Guangzu.

“This will be my first semi-finals as well, so I’m feeling quite excited.

“There was some wind and the shuttle seemed slightly faster compared to yesterday, so I’m happy that I was able to manage it well in the third game.

“Defeating him can be seen as a good progress for me as he is a tough opponent and I am aware of the level of difficulty in beating him.”

Zii Jia has another mountain to climb as he faces Taiwan’s world No. 14 Chou Tien-chen in the last four today.

Zii Jia has won four of their nine meetings and although he has beaten the Taiwanese in the last two meetings at the Sudirman Cup and Asian Championships, the Malaysia does not want to take his opponent lightly.

Tien-chen showed his prowess when he toppled world No. 5 and second seed Kodai Naraoka of Japan 21-14, 21-15 in another quarter-finals match.

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Badminton , Lee Zii Jia , Thailand Open


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