EVERYONE knows you have to be at the top of your game to even trouble World No 1 shuttler Kento Momota, let alone beat him.
So, for Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia to take on Momota while suffering from food poisoning and fever is almost an impossible task.
And that’s exactly how it panned out at the China Open in Fuzhou yesterday, with Zii Jia being forced to retire when trailing the Japanese 21-9, 11-3 in the second round.
World No 14 Zii Jia said there was no shame in him losing to Momota for the fourth time this season.
When contacted by Timesport, Zii Jia said: “I didn’t feel well when I woke up this morning (yesterday).
“I had food poisoning and was also down with fever.
“I’ve never beaten Momota and there’s now way I was going to in this condition, that’s why I retired from the match.
“I need to quickly recover for the Hong Kong Open next week.”
Zii Jia, who is Malaysia’s best bet for an Olympic spot next year and a medal prospect for the Philippines Sea Games next month, may face Momota again in Hong Kong.
The Kedah-born, however, will have to get past the likes of China’s Shi Yuqi, Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen or South Korea’s Son Wan Ho if he harbours any hope of a last-four showdown with the Japanese world champion.
Zii Jia will open his Hong Kong Open campaign against Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin.
Meanwhile, all was not lost for the Malaysian camp as two mixed doubles pairs Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying reached the quarter-finals.
Soon Huat-Shevon, who are going for gold at the Philippines Sea Games, beat Indonesia's Rinov Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas Mentari 23-21, 21-13 and will face Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai next. The Thais had earlier seen off Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing 21-12, 21-17 in the second round.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying ousted Dutch duo Robin Tabeling-Selena Piek of the Netherlands 21-18, 21-13 in the second round.
In men's doubles, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik clawed back from a game down to upset fifth seeds, Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto of Indonesia 13-21, 21-18, 21-16.
In women's doubles, Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean defeated Russia's Ekaterina Bolotova-Alina Davletova 21-17, 21-12 in the second round.
It was, however, the end of the road for men's doubles, Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani, who lost 22-20, 21-18 to world No 4, Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda of Japan, and women's singles, Soniia Cheah, who bowed out 21-14, 21-10 to recently crowned Macau Open champion, Michelle Li of Canada.