KUALA LUMPUR: Lee Zii Jia found the going tough against world No 1 Kento Momota losing tamely in the semifinals of the Malaysia Masters at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Zii Jia lost 21-10, 21-19, his sixth defeat to the Japanese ace in as many encounters.
The Malaysian was outclassed in the first game but put up a better fight in the second although he was still clearly not in Momota’s league.
“It’s clear I’m still far behind Momota. He looked relaxed and was not under pressure even when I reached 19 points in the second game,” Zii Jia said.
The Kedah-born said he would move on from this defeat and prepare for the next two tournaments, in Indonesia and Thailand in the next two weeks.
However, he is happy with his performance as it was better than last year when he reached only the quarterfinals.
Zii Jia had also upset several seeded players, including China’s Shi Yu Qi in the quarterfinals yesterday.
The 22-year-old’s exit also marked the end of Malaysia’s challenge in the championship.
Earlier, mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying were defeated by China’s second seeds Wang Yi Lyu-Huang Dong Ping 21-10, 21-13.
In the men’s singles final today, Momota will take on fifth seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.
Axelsen beat Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long 21-14, 21-18 in the other men’s semifinal match.