Lee Zii Jia remarkable comeback, to win Thailand Open

BANGKOK – Lee Zii Jia won the Thailand Open men single’s title after coolly bouncing back in the rubber set at Impact Arena in Bangkok yesterday.

National men’s singles ace Zii Jia staged an impressive performance against China’s Li Shi Feng to lift the crown, the third Malaysian to win the title. 

The world no.6 fought back from a game down to beat unseeded Shi Feng 17-21, 21-11, 23-21 in 70 minutes.

He trailed Shi Feng 4-11 in the decider but managed to maintain his composure and clawed his way back to tie at 21-21. He then stepped up the tempo to pull away and win 23-21.

The two other Malaysians to win the title were Yong Hock Kin in 2001 and Hafiz Hashim (2005). It is Zii Jia’s second consecutive title after the independent player captured the Badminton Asia Championships in Manila earlier this month.

The Kedah-born shuttler kept repeatedly telling himself to keep calm when he was down in the decider before he finally battled back to win the game.

“It is a tough match. Shi Feng played very well not only today but the entire tournament. He is a very tough opponent. I am very happy to make it through.

“I told myself not give up when I was down 4-11. At that crucial moment, I calm myself down and kept my cool,” he told Bernama.

Zii Jia admitted that he was mentally and physically tired after going through two earlier high-intensity tournaments – the Badminton Asia Championships and Thomas Cup but he fought hard for the title.

“I want this title very much,” he said.

Zii Jia pocketed US$27,000 while Shi Feng settled for US$13,680.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese Tai Tzu Ying won the women’s single’s title after defeating China’s Chen Yu Fei 21-13,17-21, 21-12.

In the women’s doubles, Japanese pair Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida beat their compatriots Mayu Matsumoto- Wakana Nagahara 17-21,21-15, 26-24.

Over In the men’s doubles, Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi lifted the title after Indonesian duo Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto withdrew. —BERNAMA