KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 5 Lee Zii Jia got his Malaysia Open campaign off to a perfect start when he checked into the second round today.
Buoyed by the home fans at the Axiata Arena, the in-form men's singles star barely broke a sweat as he went on to rout Ireland's Nhat Nguyen 21-15, 21-11.
Zii Jia, who bagged two titles on the trot (Asian Championships and Thailand Open) last month, will face Indonesia's Shesar Hiren Rhustavito next.
The Indonesian got a lucky break after his first round opponent, Rasmus Gemke, was forced to retire with an injury. The Dane had won the first game 21-15 and was trailing 9-11 in the second when he threw in the towel.
Meanwhile, Zii Jia's replacement for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games next month, Ng Tze Yong, failed to follow in his compatriot's footsteps.
The Malaysian world No. 48, who was promoted to the main draw at the eleventh hour, gave his all, but it was not enough to see off China's Lu Guang Zu, who notched a 21-16, 21-23, 21-18 win.
Another big name, world No. 2 Kento Momota also reached the second round.
The Japanese ace, who has been struggling with form since a near-fatal accident in 2020, did not even lift his racquet as he was awarded a first-round walkover by Thailand's Kantaphon Wancharoen.
Momota will play Hong Kong's Angus Ng next.