Zii Jia flirts with danger in first round

KUALA LUMPUR: Lee Zii Jia survived a close shave before reaching the second round of the Indonesia Masters today.

The 26-year-old former All England champion had to dig deep into his reserves before bouncing back from a game down to overcome India's former world No. 1 K. Srikanth 19-21, 21-14, 21-11 in the first round at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta.

Zii Jia, who reached the quarter-finals of the India Open last week, will face Hong Kong's Angus Ng next.

Zii Jia, who got the better of Angus at the Asian Games in Hangzhou last year, had only won twice in six previous meetings.

The highly anticipated match will also see both players having to once again face their former coaches on court.

Wong Tat Meng, who spearheaded the Hong Kong men's singles players before, is now the coach for Zii Jia while former BAM coaching director Wong Choong Hann is now training the Hong Kong men's singles team.

Last week, another of Choong Hann's charges, Lee Cheuk Yiu, did well to reach the India Open final, before losing to world No. 2 Shi Yu Qi.

It was a really good day at the office for Malaysia as another men's singles, Leong Jun Hao, played superbly to reach the second round.

World No. 37 Jun Hao pulled off a sensational 21-17, 21-17 upset over world No. 11 Kenta Nishimoto of Japan.

Having come through the qualifying rounds a day earlier, including a gruelling three-game cruncher against Brazil's Ygor Coelho, Jun Hao needed only 46 minutes to stun Nishimoto, for his second win over the former Japan Open champion in three meetings.

"I'm very satisfied with my performance, because I came through a very hard qualifying round but I survived. The match against Coelho was tough.

"Although I've played Nishimoto before, it was only in team events. Individual tournaments are different.

The 2023 KL Masters champion will take on home favourite Anthony Sinisuka Ginting next, for a place in the quarter-finals.

In the mixed doubles, independents Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai ousted Thailand's Ruttanapak Oupthong-Jhenicha Sudjaipraparat 21-15, 21-15. They will play South Korea's Kim Won Ho-Jeong Na Eun next.

The fourth seeded Koreans were made to slog by Malaysia's Choong Hon Jian-Go Pei Kee in the first round before carving out a 19-21, 30-28, 21-13 win.

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