Zii Jia goes down to Wan-ho in Korea Masters final

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A jittery Lee Zii Jia could not match the experienced top seed Son Wan-ho in the men’s singles final in the USD250,000 Gwangju Korea Masters, losing to the Korean ace 16-21, 11-21.
With the win, the Korean ace, ranked number six, now leads 2-0 in the head-to-head count against Zii Jia, having beaten the Malaysian 21-11, 21-17 in their only previous meeting which was at the Asian Games in Indonesia in August.
Ranked 60, Zii Jia gave away soft points and seemed to be affected by the drift inside the Women’s University Stadium in Gwangju. He was also jittery at the net although he did catch the Korean on the wrong foot several times.
The Malaysian, who won the Chinese Taipei Open in October, was playing in his first tournament after coming down with a severe back injury which sidelined him after his victory in Taipei.
Zii Jia is Malaysia’s hope after Datuk Lee Chong Wei who is still on medical leave after being diagnosed with nasal cancer and missed the World Championships and the Asian Games plus several other tournaments.
The consolation for his defeat in the Gwanju Korea Masters is picking up a pay cheque of USD9,500. Wan-ho’s efforts are worth USD18,750 in prize money that came with the title.
Meanwhile, in an all-China women’s singles final 2012 London Olympics gold medallist and former world number one Li Xuerui continued with her impressive return to competitive badminton to defeat teammate and number eight seed Han Yue 21-18 in 31 minutes. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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