The men’s singles department is certainly a cause for concern for Malaysia while Datuk Wira Lee Chong Wei remains sidelined from competitive badminton although he has resumed training following a long layoff due to nasal cancer.
At the USD150,000 Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters at the Huamark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok both singles – Lee Zii Jia and Cheam June Wei – failed to get past their quarter-final matches.
June Wei, however, gave a creditable performance against top seed and former World and Olympic champion Lin Dan after taking the opening game 21-14. The Malaysian was leading 6-3 in the second game but a sudden meltdown allowed the Chinese legend level at 7-7 and there was no stopping Lin Dan as he forced a rubber at 21-16.
In the decider it was vintage Lin Dan dictating the pace and June Wei surrendered meekly at 21-8 in 51 minutes. Lin Dan faces compatriot Lu Guangzhu who easily defeated Indonesia’s Firman Abdul Kholik 21-15, 21-17.
Zii Jia was disappointing in his straight games 11-21, 19-21 to Frenchman and seventh seed Brice Leverdez in 44 minutes.
Meanwhile, defending champions Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying continued their winning ways since turning professional earlier this month with a 21-12, 22-20 win over Indonesia’s Alfian Eko Prasetya-Marsheilla Gischa Islami in a 33-minute encounter.
For a place in the final the Rio Oympics silver medal winners will face Hong Kong’s eighth seeds Tang Chun Man-Ng Tsz Yau who upset fourth seeds Akbar Bintang Cahyono-Winny Oktavina Kandow of Indonesia 21-19, 21-19. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH