KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s hopes of a men’s singles gold medal at the World Championships evaporated in the land of the rising sun after Lee Zii Jia was shown the exit by lower-ranked Zhao Jun Peng from China in the third round.
But while Zii Jia faltered, the men’s doubles pair of Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and mixed doubles pairs Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai, Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing kept the Malaysian flag flying after marching into the quarterfinals in contrasting styles.
Zii Jia, the fifth seed in the competition, failed to live up to expectations and lost 21-19, 11-21, 21-19 to 23rd-ranked Zhao over three games in 65 minutes.
Playing well below par, Zii Jia admitted that unforced errors and simple mistakes cost him the match against the Chinese player.
“I will try to be more patient and consistent in the next tournament,” Zii Jia told the Badminton World Federation (BWF) after the match.
Aaron-Wooi Yik moved into the quarterfinals after sweeping past Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani 21-17, 21-19 in an all-Malaysian affair, while Soon Huat-Shevon Lai upset seventh seeds Thom Gicquel-Delphine Delrue of France 21-16, 21-4.
The men’s doubles pair, ranked sixth in the world, will meet the winners of the match between 10th-seeded South Korean pair Choi Sol Gyu-Seo Seung Jae or fourth-seeded Taiwanese duo Lee Yang-Wang Chi Lin in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
Soon Huat-Shevon Lai, seeded 11th in the competition, will have a mountain to climb after being drawn against Japan’s Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino.
The third seeds disposed of Thailand’s Robin Tabeling-Selena Piek 21-12, 21-19 in straight games.
Another mixed doubles pair, Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing, pulled off an upset by defeating home favourites Kyohei Yamashita-Naru Shinoya 21-12, 21-14 in straight games to set up a date with top seeds Zheng Si Wei-Huang Ya Qiong of China after they beat Thailand’s Supak Jomkoh-Supissara Paewsampran, 21-9, 19-21, 21-19.
In the women’s doubles, Commonwealth Games gold medallists Pearly Tan-M Thinaah wilted under the might of Japanese pair Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida, going down 16-21, 16-21 in straight games.
Another women’s doubles outfit, Vivian Hoo-Lim Chiew Sien, also suffered a similar fate in losing 13-21, 16-21 to South Korea’s Lee So Hee-Shin Seung Chan.