Zii Jia falls in Swiss Open semis, Soon Huat-Shevon reach final

KUALA LUMPUR: Independent mixed pair Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai earned themselves a second shot at creating history at the Swiss Open after reaching their second successive final as a dream Lee Zii Jia-Viktor Axelsen men's singles title clash failed to materialise in Basel.

The world No 11 staged a spirited comeback in the second game against Robin Tabeling-Selena Piek of Netherlands, clawing back from 16-13 down before saving two-game points to wrap up a 21-14, 23-21 win in the mixed doubles semi-finals.

The win puts Soon Huat-Shevon just one step away from becoming the first-ever Malaysian mixed doubles champions in the tournament since its inception in 1955.

But Soon Huat-Shevon must overcome their last hurdle against high-flying young Chinese opponents Jiang Zhen Bang-Wei Ya Xin, who made it to their third final of the season by beating Ye Hong Wei-Lee Chia Hsin of Taiwan 21-13, 23-21.

Zhen Bang-Ya Xin were the runners-up at the Indonesia Masters in late January and had just won the Super 100 China Masters last week.

Shevon said they were under no illusion that the title is for them to lose despite being ranked 22 rungs higher than the Chinese duo.

"We did well today in our match, managed to execute our tactics well, and controlled the proceedings of the game," said Shevon.

"Hopefully, we can carry this momentum into the final because we're going up against a formidable Chinese pair tomorrow. They've been doing very well in the early season.

"We have to really bring our A game if we are to defeat them."

Shevon is also hopeful that she and Soon Huat can finally land their first title as an independent pair.

Throughout their stint as a national pair, they made it to six World Tour-level finals and won three of them.

The Singapore Open victory in 2018, which they beat then Olympic champions Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir, was their career biggest yet.

"(Winning title), it's definitely important for us. This is a good chance for us to prove that independent players are fired up to do well as anyone else," she said.

"We fight the hardest for every tournament despite the hurdles and lack of support."

In the men's singles, Zii Jia's progress was halted yet again in the last four when he was stunned by a spirited Japanese underdog Koki Watanabe 21-11, 21-14.

The win was certainly memorable for the world No 37 Watanabe as it sent him to his first Super 300 final and he will be relishing a chance to stamp his mark.

It was also the end of the road for Danish top seed Axelsen after being booted out by Taiwan's Chou Tien Chen 21-10, 21-15.

The win must be memorable for Tien Chen as it marked his third win in 19 encounters against the reigning world and Olympic champion.

Malaysia will also not be represented in the men's doubles final today following the elimination of Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi.

They went down 21-19, 17-21, 21-17 to India's Thomas Cup winners Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty.

RESULTS: Semi-finals

Men's singles: Koki Watanabe (Jpn) bt Lee Zii Jia (Mas) 21-11, 21-14; Chou Tien Chen (Tai) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 21-10, 21-15;

Doubles: Ren Xiang Yu-Tan Qiang (Chn) bt Ben Lane-Sean Vendy (Eng) 21-10, 21-17; Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind) bt Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi 21-19, 17-21, 21-17;

Women's singles: Mia Blichfeldt (Den) bt Zhang Bei Wen (US) 21-19, 19-21, 21-18; Pornpawee Chochuwong (Tha) bt Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (Ina) 18-21, 21-13, 21-17;

Doubles: Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) bt Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti (Ina) 21-17, 16-10 ret; Rena Miyaura-Ayako Sakuramoto (Jpn) bt Baek Ha Na-Lee So Hee (Kor) 21-17, 21-19;

Mixed doubles: Goh Soon Huat-Shevon (Mas) Lai bt Robin Tabeling-Selena Piek (Ned) 21-14, 23-21; Jiang Zhen Bang-Wei Ya Xin (Chn) bt Ye Hong Wei-Lee Chia Hsin (Tai) 21-13, 23-21.

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