Cramping Zii Jia unsure of turning up for last four clash

Will I play?: Lee Zii Jia celebrates after beating Denmark’s Anders Antonsen during the quarter-final match of Malaysian Masters at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Independent men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia toppled Anders Antonsen to clear his quarter-final hurdle but his victory came with a price as he is doubtful for the last four of the Malaysian Masters today.

The world No. 10 Zii Jia fought hard to beat Denmark’s world No. 4 Antonsen 21-15, 19-21, 21-11 in an energy-draining match that lasted for 83 minutes at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

It was the Malaysian’s first win over the Dane in a full match since the 2020 Malaysian Masters, where the former reached the semi-finals.

Despite the victory, Zii Jia’s celebratory moment was dampened as he was observed limping towards the net to shake hands and hug Antonsen before immediately seeking medical attention after the match.

Zii Jia’s sister and manager Lee Zii Yii said the former had been experiencing discomfort in his leg since the second game and had to quickly take him to the National Sports Institute (NSI) for recovery as the cramps persisted.

“After the second set, he called for medical attention because of the tightness in his legs and fatigue,” said Zii Yii.

“He played in back-to-back tournaments after (the) Thailand (Open last week) and he had a tough match against Kiran (George) yesterday (on Thursday).

“He is sitting and staring without saying anything about the match as the cramps persist.

“He is suffering from cramps when standing, walking, and sitting, so we are sending him to ISN for recovery and to have an ice bath.

“We are doing our best to help him recover as quickly as possible, and since he just finished his match, it’s too early to make any conclusions.

“We will evaluate his condition when he wakes up tomorrow (today) morning and then decide on the next steps.”

Today’s last four meeting will see a rematch of the Thailand Open final with Zii Jia facing off against the world No. 24 Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong.

Zii Jia secured an easy 21-11, 21-10 win over Angus in the final in Thailand last week.

Although their head-to-head record stands even at 4-4, the Malaysian has a slight advantage, having won in their last three meetings, including the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games and Indonesian Masters in January.

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badminton , malaysia , asian


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