Zii Jia out to tame the spoiler Lee for a place in Aussie Open final


PETALING JAYA: Taiwan’s Lee Chia-hao (pic) may not be a familiar name to many but he has been a thorn in the flesh for professional shuttler Lee Zii Jia.

And world No. 8 Zii Jia knows that he has to be razor-sharp in his attacking game in order to beat Chia-hao when both clash in the men’s singles semi-finals of the Australian Open today in Sydney.

Yesterday, Zii Jia went the distance to beat Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto 16-21, 21-12, 21-12 in the quarter-finals while world No. 37 Chia-hao was equally impressive in his hard-fought 22-20, 22-20 win against his senior Chou Tien-chen.

Although ranked lower, Zii Jia is preparing for a tough battle as he has lost quite often to the 25-year-old opponent.

The Malaysian has only won two out of their last five meetings. In fact, in their last meeting at the Hong Kong Open, it was Chia-hao who triumphed.

“He (Chia-hao) just upset Tien-chen, who is ranked 13th. So he’s definitely in good form and spirit to fight in the semi-final,” said Zii Jia.

On his match against Nishimoto, Zii Jia said he felt the court conditions had favoured the Japanese players’ defensive style yesterday.

“I was mentally prepared to come into the match. We’ve played many times before this so he knows my game well and I knew it was going to be tough,” said Zii Jia.

Zii Jia was glad that he prevailed to win his ninth out of 12 meetings.

The other semi-final will be between Kodai Naraoka of Japan and Lin Chun-yi of Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Lai Pei Jing continues her fine form in two events.

In the mixed doubles, Pei Jing and partner Tan Kian Meng defeated Choong Hon Jian-Go Pei Kee 21-15, 23-21 in the quarter-finals to set up a meeting against top seeds Jiang Zhenbang-Wei Yaxin of China.

Pei Jing has also confirmed another semi spot with Lim Chiew Sien in the women’s doubles after the duo defeated Ukrainian pair Polina Buhrova-Yevheniia Kantemyr 21-17, 21-19 in the last eight. They will take on Hong Kong’s Yeung Nga Ting-Yeung Pui Lam next.

Men’s doubles pair Hon Jian-Mohd Haikal Nazri face a tough test against top seeds He Jiting-Ren Xiangyu of China after prevailing against Australia’s Rizky Hidayat-Frengky Wijaya 21-16, 18-21, 21-12World No. 8 Jiting-Xiangyu had earlier beaten Kang Khai Xing-Aaron Tai 21-14, 21-12.

The journey in Sydney also ended for doubles pair Wan Arif Wan Junaidi-Yap Roy King after losing 14-21, 17-21 to Taiwan’s Chen Zhi-ray-Lin Yu-chieh.

QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS

Malaysians unless stated

Men’s singles: Lee Zii Jia bt Kenta Nishimoto (Jpn) 16-21, 21-12, 21-12; Lee Chia-hao (Tpe) bt Chou Tien-chen (Tpe) 22-20, 22-20; Lin Chun-yi (Tpe) bt Sameer Verma (Ind) 21-12, 21-13; Kodai Naraoka (Jpn) bt H.S. Prannoy (Ind) 21-19, 21-13.

Women’s singles: Aya Ohori (Jpn) bt Putri Kusuma (Ina) 21-19, 21-13; Sung Shuo-yun (Tpe) bt Yu Chien-hui (Tpe) 21-17, 21-18; Ester Nurumi (Ina) bt Komang Ayu (Ina) 21-18, 21-15; Pai Yu-po (Tpe) bt Aakarshi Kashyap (Ind) 21-17, 21-12.

Men’s doubles: Choong Hon Jian-Mohd Haikal Nazri bt Rizky Hidayat-Frengky Wijaya (Aus) 21-16, 18-21, 21-12; Chen Zhi-ray-Lin Yu-chieh (Tpe) bt Wan Arif Wan Junaidi-Yap Roy King 21-14, 21-17; He Jiting-Ren Xiangyu (Chn) bt Kang Khai Xing-Aaron Tai 21-14, 21-12; Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina) bt Pramudya Kusumawardana-Andika Ramadiansyah (Aus) 21-14, 21-17.

Women’s doubles: Lai Pei Jing-Lim Chiew Sien bt Polina Buhrova-Yevheniia Kantemyr (Ukr) 21-17, 21-19; Febriana Dwipuji-Amallia Cahaya (Ina) bt Kaitlyn Ea-Gronya Somerville (Aus) 21-15, 21-13; Setyana Mapasa-Angela Yu (Aus) bt Sung Shuo-yun-Yu Chien-hui (Tpe) 20-22, 21-15, 21-18; Yeung Nga Ting-Yeung Pui Lam (Hkg) bt Chiu Pin-chian-Tung Ciou-tong (Tpe) 21-9, 21-12.

Mixed doubles: Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing bt Choong Hon Jian-Go Pei Kee 21-15, 23-21; Jiang Zhenbang-Wei Yaxin (Chn) bt Sumeeth Reddy-Sikki Reddy (Ind) 21-12, 21-14; Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (Hkg) bt Reginald Lee-Ng Tsz Yau (Hkg) 21-13, 21-12; Guo Xinwa-Chen Fanghui (Chn) bt Terry Hee-Jessica Tan (Sin) 24-22, 19-21, 21-16.

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