Zii Jia braces for tough final against Angus in bid to win first title this year


Fiery face-off: Lee Zii Jia (left) last beat Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long at the Indonesian Masters in January.

PETALING JAYA: Professional shuttler Lee Zii Jia is not in the mood to allow Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long spoil his party in Thailand.

Yesterday, world No. 10 Zii Jia came from behind to beat Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen 18-21, 21-12, 21-13 in Bangkok to reach his first final this year and is hoping to go all the way to end his campaign on a high.

He last won a title at the Arctic Open in Finland in October.

A win will put him in the right frame of mind ahead of the Malaysian Masters starting at Axiata Arena on Tuesday.

But Zii Jia knows, it will not be easy to beat Angus, currently coached by Wong Choong Hann.

The world No. 27 Angus is also in imperious form, having dumped world champion and home star Kunlavut Vitidsarn 21-14, 18-21, 21-19 in another semi-final meeting yesterday.

“We know each other very well as we have met quite a few times before. It will be tough,” said Zii Jia.

Zii Jia will be on the back foot as the Hong Kong shuttler has won four of their previous seven encounters. Their most recent meeting came at the Indonesian Masters in January where Zii Jia won the second round 22-20, 21-15.

Zii Jia hopes to raise his game a notch higher, as he found trouble early against Tien-chen.

“It was a tough match against an experienced opponent, but I’m happy to make it to my first final,” said Zii Jia, who is coached by Wong Tat Meng.

“The shuttle here is quite slow and I knew it was going to be a long game. Still, I’m happy with the win,” he said.

Tien-chen started off strong by taking the first game, although Zii Jia was not far behind in the points.

The Malaysian, determined to get a good result, fought back and beat the world No. 14 Tien-chen to equal the head-to-head score with five wins each.

SEMI-FINAL RESULTS

Men’s singles: Angus Ng Ka Long (Hkg) bt Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Tha) 21-14, 18-21, 21-19; Lee Zii Jia (Mas) bt Chou Tien-chen (Tpe) 18-21, 21-12, 21-13.

Men’s doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind) bt Ming Che-lu-Tan Kai-wei (Tpe) 21-11, 21-12; Chen Boyang-Liu Yi (Chn) bt Kim Gi-jung-Kim Sa-rang (Kor) 21-19, 21-18.

Women’s singles: Supanida Katethong (Tha) bt Wang Zhiyi (Chn) 21-17, 12-21, 22-20; Han Yue (Chn) bt Pornpawee Chochuwong (Tha) 21-13, 21-18.

Women’s doubles: Febriana Dwipuji-Amallia Cahaya (Ina) bt Rin Iwanaga-Kie Nakanishi (Jpn) 21-12, 21-10; Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai (Tha) bt Tanisha Crasto-Ashwini Ponnappa (Ind) 21-12, 22-20.

Mixed doubles: Guo Xinwa-Chen Fanghui (Chn) bt Rinov Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas (Ina) 21-15, 21-14; Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Ruttanapak Oupthong-Jhenicha Sudjaipraparat (Tha) 21-15, 21-14.

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