Lee Zii Jia, who found himself in the main draw after being promoted from the qualifying rounds, served a stunner when he dumped third seed Chou Tien-chen of Chinese Taipei 21-13, 21-13 in the first round in the USD350,000 Daihatsu Indonesia Maters at the Istora Senayan, Jakarta on Wednesday.
With the win Zii Yia leads 2-1 in the head to head count against Tien-chen, having beaten his opponent 21-15,10-21, 21-12 in last year’s Chinese Taipei Open in the semi-finals en-route to the title.
The 21-year-old from Kedah will face Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin in the second round for a place in the quarter-finals and holds the psychological advantage of having won both his previous two encounters. His last win over the Thai was in last week’s Malaysia Masters.
However, it was early exits for Malaysian women’s singles shuttlers with Goh Jin Wei and Soniia Cheah failing to get past their first round opponents.
Jin Wei, who won the Youth Olympics gold and the World Junior title last year, was handed a 16-21, 23-21, 22-20 defeat by China’s sixth seed He Binjiao aftera 66-minute battle. It was sweet revenge for the Chinese who lost to Jin Wei in the quarter-finals in the Malaysia Masters.
Soniia was no match for Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon who retained her Malaysia Masters title last week. The Thai ace won 21-15, 21-14 in 43 minutes.
There was some cheer for the men’s doubles with Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi advancing to the second round after straight game 21-17, 21-8 victory over China’s He Jiting-Tan Qiang.
The duo, runners-up in the Malaysia Masters, face another Chinese pair in the second round – Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen- 21-16, 21-15 winners over Korea’s Ko Sung-hyun-Shin Baek-cheol. The Chinese won all four of their previous encounters against the Malaysians.
However, two other Malaysian pairs in the men’s doubles – Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik -were first round casualties.
Two Malaysian pairs in the women’s doubles also cleared their first hurdles. Vivian Hoo-Yap Chen Wen tamed Indonesia’s Agatha Imanuela-Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti 21-1, 21-14 in 33 minutes.
They battle Rio Olympic champions Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi next. The Japanese beat Thailand’s Puttita Supajirakul-Sapsiree Taerattanachai 21-10, 21-8.
Another pair Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean also made a winning start at the Istora Senayan withaa 21-15, 21-17 win over Russians Ekaterina Bolotova-Alina Daveletova and will meet Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai.
Meanwhile, newly crowned Malaysia Masters champion Son Wan-ho of South Korea fell by the wayside. The Korean lost 17-21, 21-6, 15-21 to Denmark’s Anders Anderson. RIZAL ABDULLAH