After a disastrous first-round exit in last week’s Indonesia Masters, Malaysia’s top-ranked men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia advanced to the second round in Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters in Bangkok on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old Kedahan defeated India’s Sameer Verma 21-16, 21-15 in 38 minutes and will play Korea’s Heo Kwang Hee for a place in the quarter-finals. The Korean beat Misha Zilberman of Israel 21-16, 21-19.

Malaysian professional Liew Daren also won his first-round match, defeating another Indian opponent .S. Prannoy in three games 21-17, 20-22, 21-19 in 68 minutes. e next plays second seed Si Yuqi of China.

However, it was a first-round exit for Cheam June Wei. The 23-year-old who escaped the chop from the national squad came through two qualifying round matches to make the main draw. However, he was stopped by Kenta Nishimoto of Japan 17-21, 21-17, 21-14.

June Wei’s former teammate Soong Joo Ven, who was dropped from the national made good his appearance in the main draw and moved into the second round with a 21-19, 21-18 win over Brazilian Ygor Coelho. Joo Ven will meet Thailand’s world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn.

Soniia Cheah who missed the Malaysia Masters and the Indonesia Masters because of a hamstring injury kept Malaysia’s hopes alive in the women’s singles. Soniia outplayed Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in straight game 21-14, 21-18 in 36 minutes and will face China’s Qi Xuefei.

However, it was the first-round exit for Goh Jin Wei who is playing in her first competitive tournament after undergoing surgery in June last year. Jin Wei who came through the qualifying round fell to stop seed and third-ranked Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 12-21, 8-21 in 26 minutes.

Both Malaysian mixed doubles pairs – Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing – cleared their first-round matches.

Soon Huat-Shevon seeded third, charged from a one-game deficit to beat Yang Po Hsuan-Hu Ling Fang of Chinese Taipei 17-21, 21-9, 21-12 to earn a second-round match against Germans Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herttrich.

Kian Meng- Pei Jing, seeded eighth, and semi-finalists in the Indonesia Open, beat Denmark’s Mathias Bay-Smidt-Rikke Soby 21-19, 21-17 and will face Indonesia’s Dejan Ferdinansyah-Serena Kani.

Two other mixed doubles pairs Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See and Arina Cheong Ching Aik-Lim Chiew Sien failed to get past their first-round matches. RIZAL ABDULLAH 

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