Singles delight in Bangkok as Zii Jia and Soniia march into quarters

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Lee Zii Jia and Soniia Cheah kept Malaysia’s challenge in the men’s and women’s singles alive in the USD350,000 Toyota Thailand Open by reaching the quarter-finals after winning their second-round matches at the Huamark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Soniia ranked 32 in the world scored an impressive straight game 21-15, 21-12 win over China’s sixth-ranked He Bing Jiao in 32 minutes to advance. However, a bigger challenge awaits Soniia for a place in the last four.

The Malaysian faces China’s top seed and reigning All-England champion Chen Yufei who ousted Korea’s Kim Ga Eun 21-10, 21-16 in 33 minutes.

Delighted with her win over Bing Jiao in their first meeting between the two, Soniia’s confidence is boosted and has promised to work out another game plan to face Yufei.

“Everything fell into place against Bing Jiao and I hope to keep the momentum against Yufei,” said Soniia.

Zii Jia was taken the full distance by Indonesian veteran Tommy Sugiarto but did enough to prevail 21-14, 12-21, 21-8 in 51 minutes. In the quarter-finals, on Friday the Malaysian hope has another Indonesian wall to crack when he faces youngster Shesar Hiren Rhustavito.

Rhustavito stunned five-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan in a 55-minute three-game battle 12-21, 21-15, 21-10. The Indonesian is ranked 34 while the Chinese legend is ranked 14th.

There was mixed news in the men’s doubles with Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong making the quarter-finals with 19-21, 21-16, 21-18 win over China’s seventh seeds Han Cheng Kai-Zhou Hao Dong. They next meet China’s Li Jun Hui-Liu Yuchen.

However, it was the end of the road for Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi who fell to an 8-21, 17-21 defeat to Korea’s Ko Sung-hyan-Shin Baek-cheol in 29 minutes. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH 

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