Zii Jia tames Jonatan again in India Open

KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttler Lee Zii Jia continued his impressive record against Indonesia's Jonatan Christie, cruising into the quarter-finals of the India Open on Thursday.

The world No. 10 powered past Jonatan 21-15, 21-13, marking his fifth win in as many matches against the world No. 5.

This latest victory sees Zii Jia leading their head-to-head record for the first time at 5-4, a remarkable turnaround after losing the first four matches between 2018 and 2019.

Zii Jia will face either Japan's Kodai Naraoka or Takuma Obayashi on Friday as he aims to reach the semi-finals in a Super 750 event or higher for the first time since the All England in March year.

"Jonatan is a good player, he is the second highest ranked player in Indonesia. We have played against each other many times and are familiar with each other's game," said Zii Jia.

"All I needed to do was to maintain my focus on court and execute everything that has been taught by my coach (Wong Tat Meng). Hopefully, I will be able to keep this momentum going for the next match," said Zii Jia in a post-match interview with Badminton World Federation.

Zii Jia viewed his advancement to the quarter-finals as a positive response to last week's first-round exit at the Malaysia Open.

He has every reason to feel upbeat, as it represents a more promising start compared to the previous season.

"I have had a rough start last year, but this time I managed to reach the quarter-finals this week. So, I think it's a good start to the new year and new season," he said.

Joining Zii Jia in the last eight were world No. 4 men's pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, who are just two steps away from equalling their runners-up finish from last year.

Aaron-Wooi Yik encountered little trouble as they ousted world No. 31 Japanese Kenya Mitsuhashi-Hiroki Okamura 21-10, 21-14.

They will face China's Liu Yu Chen-Ou Xuan Yi in the next round, who advanced after halting Malaysia's Nur Izzuddin Rumsani-Goh Sze Fei by prevailing 21-19, 17-21, 21-17 in a thrilling 70-minute battle.

Aaron-Wooi Yik will need to bring their A-game to the court, as past meetings have favoured the Chinese world No. 8 at 4-2.

It was the end of the road for women's pair Pearly Tan-M Thinaah after they lost again to Japan's Chiharu Shida-Nami Matsuyama. Pearly-Thinaah went down tamely 21-16, 21-13, marking their ninth defeat in 10 outings against the world No. 4.

With their elimination, Pearly-Thinaah fell short in their bid to emulate their commendable run to the semi-finals last year.

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