Thailand Open: Zii Jia smashes into final

Lee Zii Jia

BANGKOK – Malaysian men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia smashed his way into the Thailand Open final at the Impact Arena here today.

The world No. 6 continued his winning streak after defeating compatriot Liew Daren. However, the independent shuttler had to slog for three games to beat his training mate 21-16, 13-21, 21-14 in 51 minutes to earn a ticket to the final.

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The highest-seeded player left in the men’s singles competition, Zii Jia will play against China’s Li Shi Feng in the final on Sunday. Li took 93 minutes to beat Japan’s Naraoka Kodai to check into the final.

The 24-year-old Malaysian who has yet to lose a single match since the semi-finals of All-England in March hopes to get a good rest and is all set for one last push in his quest to win the title.

“It will be a tough match… Hopefully I can get a good rest today and be ready for tomorrow’s final. I will try everything I can (to win),” he said.

Meanwhile, 34-year-old Daren admitted that his speed dropped especially during the rubber set against Zii Jia.

“I tried to play my best, however, Zii Jia was better,” he said.

Malaysia’s top doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik failed to shine in the semi-finals after suffering a straight-game defeat to Indonesian pair Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto 21-19, 21-14.

The Tokyo Olympics bronze-medalists and sixth-seeded pair admitted that they made many unforced errors during the games.

“Our playing style is similar to the Indonesian pair however they are more consistence,” Aaron said.

Wooi Yik admitted the duo did not have a quality game on the first set and the Indonesian pair took the opportunity to romp home to victory.

“When they win the first set, they started the second game with confidence. We tried really hard on the second set,” he said.

Meanwhile, national women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M Thinaah also crashed out of the semi-finals after losing to Japanese pair Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shinda 17-21, 17- 21 in 42 minutes.

Thinaah admitted the Japanese duo’s speed put a lot of pressure on them.

“We tried to break through but it was not good enough. We need to improve in the next tournament,” she said.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese shuttler, Tai Tzu Ying qualified for the women’s singles final of the Thailand Open after defeating Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon 10-21, 21-13, 21-19. Second seed Tai will take on China’s Chen Yu Fei.

In the mixed doubles, Thai duo Sapsiree Taerattanachai-Dechapol Puavaranukroh stormed into the final after defeating Olympic champions Wang Yi Lyu-Huang Dong Ping of China 16-21, 21-12, 21-16. The Thai pair will meet China’s Zhen Si Wei-Huang Ya Qiong.