HANGZHOU: Former All England champion Lee Zii Jia easily cleared his second round obstacle at the Asian Games to set up a mouth-watering clash against reigning world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
The world No 19 outclassed Mourinho Zefi Costa Gusmao de Jesus of Timur Leste 21-0, 21-7 in just 17 minutes at the Binjiang Gymnasium.
He will take on Kunlavut in the round of 16 after the Thai shuttler received a bye in the first round.
“The next game against Kunlavut will be a tough challenge for me, especially with my inconsistent form,” said Zii Jia, who was eliminated in the round of 16 in 2018.
“He is a defensive player, a rally player, so tomorrow I’ll just have to bide my time and remain patient to capitalise on any mistakes. He will be very confident after winning the world championship,” Zii Jia told reporters after the match.
Zii Jia said he had expected Kunlavut to easily dispose of world No 104 Nguyen Hai Dang, but the Vietnamese put up a strong fight before losing 17-21, 21-18, 21-15 after battling for close to 100 minutes.
Kunlavut became Thailand’s first men’s singles world champion after beating Japan’s Kodai Naraoka in Copenhagen, Denmark, last August.
Both Zii Jia and Kunvalut have won three matches each in their six meetings since 2016, but the Thai emerged victorious in their last two encounters at the 2021 World Tour Finals and 2022 German Open.
Meanwhile former junior world champion Goh Jin Wei also advanced to the round of 16 after beating Vu Thi Anh Thu of Vietnam 21-10, 21-13.
The 23-year-old is set to face fifth seed Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia, who ousted Ashmita Chaliha of India 21-17, 21-16.
It was a different story for debutant K Letshanaa though, after she went down 13-21, 10-21 to Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand.