Zii Jia scores 1st win over Yu Qi to enter semis

Lee Zii Jia reacts after defeating China’s Shi Yu Qi in the Malaysia Masters quarterfinals. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s top singles player Lee Zii Jia played the game of his life to beat China’s Shi Yu Qi in the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Masters at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

The 22-year-old Malaysian came from behind to beat the seventh seed 12-21, 21-16, 21-19.

Zii Jia showed amazing tenacity to overcome Yu Qi, who, despite being troubled by an old injury, used his experience and skill to win the first game easily.

The world No 14 simply could not keep pace with the Chinese player and had no answer to his array of shots in the opening game.

“In the second game, I gradually tried to match his speed. My play is extraordinary today,” Zii Jia told reporters.

Zii Jia said he felt nervous even when leading but kept telling himself to fight till the end.

“I did not expect the last shot, which is a lucky point,” said Zii Jia, who had lost his two previous matches against Yu Qi.

In the semifinals today Zii Jia will face off against top seed and world No 1 Kento Momota.

Momota’s speed and ability to mix things up will make him a tough opponent for Kedah-born shuttler.

“Only a speedy and offensive player like (Anthony) Ginting (of Indonesia) would stand a chance against him. I respect Momota and will give it my all,” he added.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s doubles pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi failed to keep up their good run when they narrowly lost to South Koreans Kim Gi Jung-Lee Yong Dae in the quarterfinals.

They won the first set 21-19 but lost the next two 21-15, 22-20.