No sweat for Zii Jia, Jin Wei falls in Gwangju Korea Masters Open

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Jin Wei

Lee Zii Jia is in the men’s singles final in the USD250,000 Gwangju Korea Masters Masters – breezing through without playing a game when Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin retired after a minute’s play in the semi-finals on Saturday.
 
The 20-year-old Kedah-born Zii Jia was leading 4-1 when his Thai opponent, who had knocked out Malaysia’s Soong Joo Ven in the quarter-finals on Friday, called quits with an ankle injury.
 
Zii Jia, the Chinese Taipeh Open winner will face local favorite and former world number one Son Wan-ho, who is the top seed in Gwangju.
 
The Korea ace battled past Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yin 21-19, 21-14 in 46 minutes and is currently playing some of his best badminton.
 
While Zii Jia kept Malaysia’s flag flying newly crowned world junior champion Goh Jin Wei made a sad exit in the women’s singles. The 18-year-old Malaysian, who also won the gold in the Youth Olympics in October, made some “error judgments” that cost her the match against former world number one Li Xuerui.
 
Xuerui, the 2012 London Olympics champion, is making a strong comeback after picking up an injury at the Rio 2016 Olympics (anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and later meniscus), played with a heavily strapped left leg but used her vast experience to good use in her 23-21, 10-21, 21-14 win in 52 minutes.
 
Still, Jin Wei can be proud of her performance in Gwangju and to reach the last four is an achievement itself. Her lack of experience and exposure at the senior level showed but give her time and Jin Wei is on track.
 
Xuerui, 27, will meet compatriot will face and eighth seed Han Yue in the final. Han Yue beat Korean hope Kim Hyo-min 19-21, 21-13, 21-9 in a 71-minute match. 
  
Another Malaysian, former national player Tan Boon Heong, who partnered Korea’s Kim Sa-rang in the men’s doubles, also bowed out in the semi-finals. The scratch pair went down to number eight seeds Po Li-wei-Wang Chi-Lin of Chinese Taipei 21-18, 12-21, 21-17.  – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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