His family, relatives, and friends came all the way from Kedah to land him support but it was not enough for Malaysia’s rising star Lee Zii Jia whose giant-killing feats in the Perodua Malaysia Masters ended in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Japanese ace Kento Momota once again came out tops against Zii Jia with straight games 21-10, 21-19 win for a place in the men’s singles final in 43 minutes at the Axiata Arena, Bukit Jalil.
Despite his sixth defeat in as many matches, Zii Jia gave his best against the current world No 1 and world champion who is hotly favored to win the title when he plays Denmarks Viktor Axelsen on Sunday.
Axelsen defeated Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long 21-14, 21-18 in the other semi-final. The Dane has won all his sevens encounters with Ka Long.
“I still have a long way to go in my game. Momota is in a class of his own…his agility, his skills, and his physical condition,” said the newly appointed 100PLUS brand Ambassador.
“I will come back stronger. It has been a good start to the year. Reaching the semifinals is an achievement and a boost for me for the coming tournaments.
”I wish to thank my coaches, my sponsors (100PLUS) family, relatives, friends, and supporters for their support,” said Zii Jia, adding that he is looking at better things in his badminton career.
It was certainly a brave performance against Momota, hailed as a ”complete player” and badminton fans in the country can count on Zii Jia to replace Datuk Lee Chon Wei, the former World No 1 who as retired due to ill health.
Last year, Zii Jia reached the quarter-finals in the Malaysia Masters. His next stop in the Daihatsu Indonesia Masters in Jakarta next week. RIZAL ABDULLAH