It was a gloomy day for Malaysia as national singles ace Lee Zii Jia and mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying went down to their respective semifinal rivals in the Perodua Malaysia Masters 2020 presented by Daihatsu at Axiata Arena here, today.
Zii Jia’s hopes to feature in his first final of the year went up in ashes after going down to top seed and world number one Kento Momota who proved too good for the Kedah-born lad. Momota was clearly in fiery mood as he gave little room for Zi Jia to move around and claw back into the game.
Momota took charge from the word go, frustrating the Malaysian with his quick footwork, precise net play and unmatchable overhead smash. The Japanese race to a 10-5 lead before wrapping up the first set 21-10 in just 16 minutes.
Things looked promising for Zii Jia in the second set with the Malaysian battling point for point with Momota in the early stage of the set. However, the Japanese proved to good for Zii Jia, controlling the game with an 11-6 lead but Zii Jia managed to close down the gap to 20-17 before losing out 21-19 in 42 in 42 minutes.
Momota has now won in all his 7 meetings against Zii Jia and will meet former champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in tomorrow’s final.
“It was difficult from start… Momota was clearly controlling the game. I’m looking forward to better results in Indonesia and Thailand after this,” said Zii Jia.
Despite his loss, Zii Jia expressed satisfaction over his overall achievement in the tournament. “ This is only my first tournament of the year. Reaching the semifinals is a big achievement for me,” said Zii Jia who thanked his new sponsor 100PLUS, BAM, his coaches, family and friends for their support.
Malaysia’s other hopeful and last year finalist, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying were also outplayed and went down tamely to Chinese pair Wang Yi Liu-Huang Dong Ping 21-20, 21-13 in mixed doubles semifinals which lasted just 33 minutes.
It was their 9th encounter against world number 4 who now has a 7-2 advantage over the Malaysian pair.
“It’s was a really difficult game for us. We couldn't match and respond to their speed and power play. We were pressured from the start and tried hard to get back into the game but nothing works,” said Peng Soon after the match.
Moving forward, Liu Ying said they will shift their focus on their next mission playing in Daihatsu Indonesia Masters in Jakarta, next week. “We will continue to push ourselves and work hard towards the Olympics. We have no choice but need to stay in shape and beef up our mental and physical condition,” said Peng Soon.
In the other finals, fifth seed Axelsen overcame Hong Kong’s Angus Ng 21-14, 21-19 while world number one Tai Tzu Ying was no match for China’s He Being Jiao. Tzu Ying now meets second seed Chen Yu Fei who had defeated Spain’s Carolina Marin 21-15, 21-14 in the other women’s semifinal tie.