Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia sets up what will be an explosive semifinal clash against Japanese ace Kento Momota after scalping world number 8 Shi Yu Qi in tonight’s quarterfinals of the Perodua Malaysia Masters 2020 at Axiata Arena here.
The 21-year-old Zii Jia lost 12-21 the first set in just 17 minutes but came back strongly to win 21-16 in the second set before wrapping the match in a thrilling rubber game. Both players were locked in a point for point battle in the decider which eventually the Malaysian winning 21-19.
In the other quarterfinals, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying kept Malaysia’s hopes in the mixed doubles alive after defeating Japanese pair Takuro Hoki-Wakana Nagahara 21-15, 21-18. It was Peng Soon-Liu Ying’s third win against the Japanese pair who almost forced a rubber game after a closely-fought match in the second set. After trailing in the early part of the second set, the Malaysian pair managed to put their game back in order to finish off the game in 42 minutes.
Independent pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi almost made it into the semifinals but were locked in a close battle against Korean rival Kim Gi Jung-Lee Young Dae in three sets. The Malaysian pair committed a series of errors towards the last stage of the third game and eventually surrendered 19-21, 21-15, 22-20 to the Koreans.
Zii Jia admitted he was clueless in the first set which led to him losing easily but managed to claw back strongly in the second with a better reading of Shi Yu Qi’s style of play. It was Zii Jia’s first win over the Chinese after meeting twice prior to this.
“The first set was a bit weird, I was lost and clueless. But in the second set, I managed to read his game, followed his speed, minimise my errors and changed the tempo of the game.
The decider was really close, it was point for point right to the end and at 20-18, I felt good, gave it all and managed to finish off the game 21-19. The crowd was simply amazing today, I was really motivated to get into the semis,” said Zii Jia.
Against Momota, Zii Jia admitted that it would be extremely tough saying that he needs to quickly recover after three tough matches against third seed Anders Antonsen, India’s Sameer Verma and Shi Yu Qi.
“It’s going to be extremely tough and difficult. Support from the home crowd will be my main source of motivation tomorrow,” said Zii Jia.
Meanwhile, Peng Soon-Liu Ying’s will meet either China’s second seed Wang Yi Lyu-Huang Dong Pin of China or Robin Tabeling-Selena Piek of the Netherlands in tomorrow’s semifinals.
“We did well in the first set but were a bit disorganised in the second set. There was a bit of confusion but we managed to get back into our rhythm halfway into the second set,” said Liu Ying.
Peng Soon meanwhile admitted that the pressure to win their first title of the year in front of the home crowd is mounting. “But we are experienced enough to manage whatever expectation put upon us, especially playing in front of the home crowd,” said Peng Soon.
In the other quarterfinal encounter, top seed Zheng Si Wei-Huang Ya Qiong proved too strong for 8thseed Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai who bowed out 21-11, 21-9.
Soon Huat-Shevon were clearly no match for the Chinese world number one who were simply a class above them, winning their sixth encounter over the Malaysians in just 24 minutes.
“It was not our best performance, we made a lot of errors and the fact that the Chinese pair were very quick and consistent made our life harder. We have got a lot to learn from the outcome of this tournament and need to work harder,” said Shevon after the match.
Partner Goh Soo Huat remained upbeat, saying that they will continue to work hard to improve on their speed and coverage of the court. “It’s obvious that the Chinese were superior in speed and agility. They were consistent throughout the match and we need to continue to improve on those areas,” said Soo Huat.
In the men’s doubles, world number one and hot favourites Marcus Gideon Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya Sakamuljo of Indonesia were shockingly beaten by fellow compatriot and fifth seed Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto in a closely-fought three sets.
Fajar-Muhammad Rian, the 2018 Perodua Malaysia Masters champions, had to dig deep into their reserves before forcing the Minions out of the tournament with a 21-19, 17-21, 23-21 win which pit them against Korean pair Kim Gi Jung-Lee Yong Dae in tomorrow’s semifinals.
In the other quarterfinals, top seed Tai Tzu Ying was a class above India’s Pusarla V. Sindhu to win 21-16, 21-16 to book a semifinal slot against 7th seed He Bing Jiao of China.
Third seed Nozomi Okuhara was sent packing by China’s 7th seed He Bin Jiao who won 21-17, 21-10 to set up a semifinal clash against top seed Tai Tzu Ying.
Spain’s Carolina Marin was in her element, brushing aside India’s single ace Sania Nehwal 21-8, 21-7 in just 30 minutes.
Second seed Mohamad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan lived up to their top billings but were given stiff resistance by Taiwan’s Lee yang-Wan Chi Lin before winning 20-22, 21-18, 21-19 in 49 minutes. The Indonesian pair are down to meet China’s third seed pair Li Jun Hui-Liu Yu Chen in tomorrow’s semifinals.
Indonesia’s women’s doubles Greysia Polli-Apriani Rahayu followed suit with a win over Korea’s Chang Ye Na-Kim Hye Rin to set up a semifinal tie against either Kim So Yeong-Kong Hee Yong (KOR) or China’s Li Wen Mei-Zheng Yu tomorrow.