KUALA LUMPUR: National men’s singles player Lee Zii Jia qualified for his first major semi-final this year when he beat Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito at the Thailand Open in Bangkok today.
Lee stopped the Indonesian’s gallant run by winning 11-21, 21-14, 21-13 in 50 minutes in their quarter-final match.
The 21-year-old is the only Malaysian to qualify for the semi-finals tomorrow.
“It is a breakthrough for me after six quarter-finals (appearances). I told myself that I have to win this game. No matter how, I must break through this situation. Finally, I did it and I’m happy.
“But I still have a match tomorrow. I don’t want to celebrate too much. Just want to get some rest. Hopefully, there will be good news again tomorrow,” he said.
Ranked 17th in the world, Lee will face a tough hurdle tomorrow, when he takes on world number three Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan, who defeated Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto 21-12, 21-16 in another quarter-final match.
Women’s shuttler Soniia Cheah’s solid run was halted by world number four and top seed Chen Yu Fei of China, who beat her 21-15, 21-8 in 41 minutes.
“My opponent is much stronger. She had control, especially in the second set. In the first set, I had tried my best to stay in rally with her but I made some mistakes and lost.
“In the second set, she gained confidence and kept up the pressure. Overall, I’ve tried my very best and I know I need to train harder to match them,” she added.
Malaysia’s professional doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong were also shown the exit, losing to third seeds Li Jun Hui-Liu Yu Chen of China 16-21, 19-21.