Lee Zii Jia did the nation proud when he made the final of the prestigious All England where he will take on Dutchman Viktor Axelsen later this evening in Birmingham.
In the semifinals yesterday, the 100PLUS Ambassador confirmed his place in his first final this year when he overcame another Dutchman Mark Caljouw.
On paper, the Kedah lad was clearly the favourite and after battling for close to three-quarters of an hour, the sixth-seeded Zii Jia put down Caljouw with a straight set 21-13, 21-17 win.
Zii Jia’s opponent in the final, Axelsen did not have an easy evening when he was stretched the full distance by teammate Anders Antonsen before winning 16-21, 21- 7, 21-17.
“In the second set, I lost focus a bit but managed to overcome it to take the win. It was an intense match.
“My confidence is growing and tomorrow’s match (today) will definitely be tough. I have to rest well and prepare for the final,” Zii Jia said.
Meanwhile, the hope of having another Malaysian representative in the finals of the All England fell short when national mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying failed to beat Japanese duo, Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsumoto.
Kaneko-Matsumoto were fast and aggressive as they took the first set 21-14 and even though Peng Soon-Liu Ying took the lead at one point, they conceded the second set 20-22.
“We could not keep control when we were in the lead and when they kept up the pressure, we became nervous. The onus was on us because we had to win the second set after losing the first,” Liu Ying said.
Meanwhile, Japan dominated the finals in all three doubles of the All England this year where they have made it an all-Japanese encounter in all categories.
Third seed Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda will face fourth-seeded Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe in the final of the men’s doubles while in the women’s doubles, the final see top seed, Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota, taking on second-seeded Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara.
In the mixed doubles, Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsumoto will be up against second-seeded, Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino.
Japan also has Nozomi Okuhara in the final of the women’s singles where she will take on the sixth seed from Thailand, Pornpawee Chochuwong.