Zii Jia loses to Japan’s Naraoka in first round

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian professional shuttler Lee Zii Jia’s (picture) poor run continued when he crashed out of the first round of the China Open at the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium in Changzhou today.

Zii Jia lost 24-26, 21-12, 11-21 to 2023 World Championship silver medallist and fourth seed Kodai Naraoka of Japan in one hour and 15 minutes, according to the tournament website https://bwf.tournamentsoftware.com/.

The 25-year-old Zii Jia, ranked 14th in the world, has been struggling to regain his form, having lost in the third round of the world meet in Copenhagen, Denmark last month.

Zii Jia has qualified for three semi-finals this year, at the All England and Swiss Open in March and Australian Open last month, out of the 15 Badminton World Federation (BWF) tournaments he participated in.

Malaysia’s hopes in men’s singles now rest on the shoulders of Ng Tze Yong, who upset India’s recent world championship bronze medallist H.S. Prannoy yesterday to enter the second round.

Meanwhile, national mixed doubles pair Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei qualified for the second round after beating India’s Rohan Kapoor-Reddy Sikki 21-15, 21-16. They will next play the sixth seed from South Korea, Kim Won Ho-Jeong Na Eun.

In women’s singles, Goh Jin Wei lost to Japan’s Aya Ohori 18-21, 12-21 in the opening round.

Several other Malaysian representatives are scheduled to play today on the second day of competition, including former men’s doubles world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik. – BERNAMA