Zii Jia Stuns Antonsen To Enter Malaysia Masters Semi-finals

24/05/2024 09:08 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 (Bernama) -- Former All England champion Lee Zii Jia advanced to the 2024 Malaysia Masters semi-finals after three years, by eliminating Anders Antonsen of Denmark, today. 

Fresh from winning the Thailand Open title last week, the world number 10 Zii Jia, powered by strong home support, notched a 21-15, 19-21, 21-11 win after an 84-minute battle against the 2024 Malaysia Open champion at the Axiata Arena here. 

It was only his third win against the world number four Antonsen in eight encounters between them, with the first victory being in the 2020 Malaysia Masters.

Zii Jia, who is gunning for first title on home soil, will face Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long, who stunned third seed Li Shi Feng of China 21-13, 21-15. 

The 26-year-old Zii Jia’s best ever achievement in the Malaysia Masters was the semi-finals in 2020 when he went down to eventual champion Kento Momota, while he advanced to the quarter-finals in 2019.

However, his campaign ended early in other editions as he was eliminated in the first round in 2017 and second round in 2018 and 2023, while he didn’t take part in 2022, and tournament was called off in 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic.  

But Zii Jia’s participation in the semi-finals still in doubt as the shuttler suffered leg and body cramps from today’s match. 

His manager Lee Zii Yii said, Zii Jia went for ice bath at the National Sports Institute (NSI) immediately after the match and his condition would assessed tomorrow morning. 

"Just after the second set, you can see that he called the medical officer because (muscles) were tight and tired because he had just returned from Thailand, while yesterday also he fought a fierce match (against Kiran George of India). 

"Now he is having cramps...Standing, sitting, even walking.  So we contacted NSC (National Sports Council) whether he can do ice bath or not, now we have sent him for ice bath immediately before it is closed.

“We are actually trying our best to let him recover as much as can, so we will see how is the condition because he has just finished this match. I can’t say anything yet, once he wake up, we will assess him,” she told reporters. 

Meanwhile, Antonsen wasn’t really satisfied with the results, feeling that he was in better physical condition than Zii Jia.

“Even though I wasn't that close in the third game, I feel like this match could have gone either way, so it wasn't that much that separated us today. It was momentum; when I had it, I had some good runs, and when he had it, he had some very good runs.

“Today was a very physical match, no doubt about it. And yeah, you never know, but I had the feeling that I was maybe in better physical condition than Lee was. I need to know what that cool spray did to him at the beginning of the third game; I would like to get my hands on one of those,” he said.

In the last match of tonight, world number one Viktor Axelsen beat Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen 21-15, 21-11 in 46 minutes, with hopes of winning his second title after his 2018 success.

The reigning Olympic champion, who has yet to win any title this year, will be challenged by China’s Lu Guang Zu, who beat Hong Kong’s Jason Gunawan 21-17, 15-21, 21-14.

-- BERNAMA