He is up against World No 3 Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in the men’s singles semi-finals but Malaysia’s number one Lee Zii Jia is ready to take up the challenge to keep the country’s flag flying in the USD350,000 Toyota Thailand Open in Bangkok.
In the quarter-finals, the Malaysian was taken the distance by Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito but did enough to prevail 11-21, 21-14, 21-13 in a 50-minute encounter – an achievement that has fired him up after the disappointment of falling six times at the quarter-final stage.
Zii Jia, ranked No 17, goes into Saturday’s semi-final against Tien Chen on equal footing with the score standing at 2-2 in the previous four meetings.
“I have played him before and I know his playing style,” said Zii Jia after his hard-fought win over Rhustavito who played in the main draw after he was promoted to from the qualifying rounds. He ousted Chinese legend Lin Dan in the second round.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s hopes in the women’s singles ended with the defeat of Soniia Cheah. The 26-year-old Malaysian fell to a 15-21, 8-21 defeat in 41 minutes to top seed Chen Yufei of China in 41 minutes. The Chinese ace now leads 5-0 in the head to head tally.
Malaysia’s campaign in the men’s doubles also came to an end with the defeat of professionals Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong who lost 16-21, 19-21 to China’s third seeds Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen. RIZAL ABDULLAH