National No 1 men’s shuttler Lee Zii Jia came back from a one-game deficit to beat Singapore’s Penang-born Loh Kean Yew 19-21, 21-18, 21-12 in his first-round match in the USD700,000 Fuzhou China Open in Fuzhou on Tuesday.
The Malaysian battled for 65 minutes at the Haixia Olympic Sports Center in Fuzhou for the win after suffering first-round defeats to Chen Long of China in the Denmark Open and Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting in the French Open last month.
Zii Jia, however, has a mammoth task to qualify for the quarter-finals in Fuzhou. He faces current World No 1 and top seed Kento Momota of Japan in the second round. Zii Jia has lost to the Japanese ace in all his three meetings so far this year.
Momota needed only 22 minutes to advance to the second round when his first-round opponent, Malaysian professional Liew Daren retired after losing the first game 21-17 in 22 minutes.
It was also first-round exits for women’s doubles Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen and men’s doubles Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi.
Vivian-Cheng Wen went out in straight game 15-21, 9-21 to China’s Dong Wen Jing-Feng Xue Ying while Yew Sin-Ee Yi lost 17-21, 10-21 to Lu Ching Yao-Yang Po Han of Chinese Taipei. RIZAL ABDULLAH