KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 – Lee Zii Jia’s miserable run in Bangkok continued when he lost his opening round match in Group A of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals in a three-game battle against world number two Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei at Impact Arena on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old Malaysian showed glimpses of his badminton brilliance but could not stop Tien Chen from winning 21-16, 12-21, 21-11 in a match that lasted for 57 minutes.
The defeat to Tien Chen was his second in the Thai capital as he had also lost to the Taiwanese in the quarter-finals during the Super 1000 Yonex Thailand Open two weeks ago.
With his defeat in the world tour finals, Zii Jia has a mammoth task to finish second in the group and qualify for the knockout stage.
He next faces Danish ace, Viktor Axelsen, on Thursday. The Dane is the favorite after winning back-to-back titles in the Thailand Open.
Axelsen will go into the match with a 2-1 lead after three matches. On Wednesday he defeated Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting in his opening match.
Despite his stumble to Tien Chen, Zii Jia deserves mention for his better overall performance in the match.
He paid the price for his lack of focus and eagerness to go for the kill at crucial moments.
In the men’s doubles, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik got off to a smooth start to their campaign in Group b with a straight game 21-14, 21-19 win over Koreans Choi Solgyu-Chae Seun-jae to make it 2-2 after four meetings.
The Malaysians next face Russians Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov who lost to Indonesia’s world champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan.
A win over the former All-England champions will give the Malaysians a place in the knockout stage. The top two in each group will advance.
Malaysia’s other pair in the men’s doubles Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi gave a good account of themselves – battling all the way in their 18-21, 22-24 defeat to Lee Yang-Wang Chi-Lin of Chinese Taipei who won back-to-back titles in the Thailand Open.
Yew Sin-Ee Yi will have to beat England’s Marcus Ellis-Chris Langridge in their second match on Thursday to stay alive.
The English pair lost 20-22, 15-21 to compatriots Ben Lane-Sean Vendy in their first match.
Also winning their opening matches were Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean in Group A – defeating compatriots Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen 21-16, 10-21, 21-15 that took 66 minutes. Mei Kuan-Men Yean next faces Korea’s Lee So Hee-Shin Seung-chan.
In the mixed doubles, Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai JemieĀ  (pic above) came back from a game down to defeat fast-improving Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herttrich 14-21, 21-18, 21-18 to start their campaign on the right foot.

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