Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia defeated India’s B. Sai Praneeth 21-18, 21-15 in the opening match of the tie at the Asia Team Championships in Manila today.

KUALA LUMPUR: The national badminton team overcame their biggest hurdle so far in the Asia Team Championships when they defeated India 4-1 in Manila today to top Group B and qualify for the quarter-finals.

They will face Group A runners-up South Korea today for a semi-final spot, which will seal them a Thomas Cup berth on merit.

National No 1 Lee Zii Jia started the ball rolling when he defeated B. Sai Praneeth 21-18, 21-15 in 38 minutes before men’s doubles Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik gave Malaysia a 2-0 lead by overcoming M.R. Arjun-Shirag Shetty 21-18, 21-15.

However, India’s second singles K. Srikanth won the next match by battling past Cheam June Wei 14-21, 21-16, 21-19 in 57 minutes.

Teo Ee Yi-Ong Yew Sin handed Malaysia an unassailable 3-1 lead when they secured a 21-14, 21-14 win in 21 minutes over Dhruv Kapila-Lakshya Sen.

In the third singles, former national champion Leong Jun Hao recorded a comprehensive 21-10, 21-15 success over H.S. Prannoy.