On a day of shocks, Malaysia’s top men’s shuttler Lee Zii Jia marched into the quarter-finals in the USD400,000 Korea Open in Incheon on Thursday with a stunning straight-game 21-18, 21-16 win over Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in 35 minutes.
The win by the 21-year-old Malaysian made it all square against the Dane who had beaten Zii Jia in his only previous encounter. The seventh-seeded Axelsen is making a comeback to competitive badminton after a long layoff from back and leg injuries.
“It does not matter but I won. This is a big win for me,” said Zii Jia.
For Zii Jia, it a big boost to his confidence in reaching his ninth quarter-final and faces badminton hottest property for now – world champion and top seed Kento Momota of Japan.
Momota, the winner of the China Open last week, has won all his previous three encounters against Zii Jia.
While Zii Jia advanced it was the end for Malaysian professional Liew Daren who lost a three-game battle against India’s P. Kashyap who won 21-17, 11-21, 21-12 in 56 minutes. Daren had knocked out China’s five-time world champion and two-time Olympics gold medallist Lin Dan in the first round.
In an all-Malaysian second-round encounter Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin stormed from a first-game deficit to beat Chooi Kah Ming-Low Juan Shen 19-21, 21-18, 21-15 for a place in the last eight.
The Malaysians will face Koreans Choi Solgyu-Seo Seung Jae for a place in the last four. The Koreans ousted defending champions and No 8 seeds Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 21-17, 21-13. RIZAL ABDULLAH