Zii Jia faces Antonsen in Malaysia Masters quarter-finals

MALAYSIA’s top men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia cruised into the 2024 Malaysia Masters quarter-finals after beating India’s rising player Kiran George at the Axiata Arena here, today.

The world number 10, who is gunning for his maiden title on home soil, took 44 minutes to down the world number 36 player, 21-13, 21-18 to set up a mouth-watering clash against his friend and 2024 Malaysia Open champion, Anders Antonsen of Denmark, tomorrow.

Earlier, the tournament’s second seed Antonsen eliminated his compatriot Magnus Johannesen 21-12, 21-10 to book his quarter-finals slot.

The newly-crowned Thailand Open champion, Zii Jia, was delighted to advance to the quarter-finals for the first-time since 2020, when he went down against eventual champion Kento Momota in the semi-finals.

“I think he (Kiran) is one of the future stars.... He is a defensive player, the second set was tougher, the rallies were long, but I remained patient to get the win

“Tomorrow definitely will be a tough match against Antonsen, especially after he won the Malaysia Open here in January. I need to keep patient and put in my best performance tomorrow,” he said after the match.

In seven previous encounters between Zii Jia and Antonsen, the Dane had emerged victorious five times, including in the last match at the Japan Masters in November, while Zii Jia won at the 2020 Malaysia Masters first round and 2023 Arctic Open.

Apart from the semi-finals in 2020, Zii Jia had advanced to the quarter-finals in 2019, but his campaign ended early in other editions as he was eliminated in the first round in 2017 and second round in 2018 and 2023, while he didn’t take part part in 2022.

Meanwhile, world number one Viktor Axelsen also cruised into the last eight stage after overcoming slight resistance from Thailand’s world number 79, Panitchaphon Teeraratsakul 21-18, 21-13.

The reigning Olympic champion is set to face seventh seed Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan, who defeated Koo Takahashi 21-14, 21-5, in the quarter-finals tomorrow.

Apart from Zii Jia, the hosts will have eight other representatives in the Super 500 tournament quarter-finals, including women’s doubles pair of Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah

Others are men’s doubles pair of Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, last year’s runners up Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun, Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Mohd Rumsani and Wan Muhammad Arif Shaharuddin Wan Junaidi-Yap Roy King.

Malaysia also have three representatives in the mixed doubles - Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei, fourth seeds Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie and eighth seeds Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing, who were the last Malaysians to won the title in 2017.

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