Lee Zii Jia upsets Chou Tien Chen in thriller to reach Chinese Taipei Open final

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Lee Zii Jia is one win away from his first title of the season. (photo: AFP)
Lee Zii Jia is one win away from his first title of the season. (photo: AFP)

Taipei: Malaysia’s 20-year-old Lee Zii Jia slayed the top Taiwanese badminton player and No. 1 seed Chou Tien Chen on Saturday, saving two match points and holding off the last minute surge as Lee toppled the World No. 4 Taiwanese 17-21, 21-14, 24-22 in a 3-set thriller to reach the Chinese Taipei Open final.

The World No. 60 Lee who lost to Chou in semi-final of the same tournament last year, was determined to not let history repeats itself in the decider. Playing with mixture of strong defensive, offensive, and sometimes trick net shots, overcoming Chou in an 80-minute battle.

“Lee played really well offensively and I was having a hard time getting an edge on him,” said Chou after the semi-final match.

Lee will take on unseeded Japanese shuttler, Riichi Takeshita in the final.

Play of the day – Lee Zii Jia vs. Chou Tien Chen

The World No. 81 Japanese player had to dig deep to advance into the final by outlasting former World No. 2 and also tournament’s No. 5 seed, Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark 21-17, 16-21 and 26-24 in another semi-final.

In women’s competition, World No. 1 Taiwanese Tai Tzu-ying saw off Soniia Cheah of Malaysia 21-16, 21-19 in the women’s singles semi-final to remain in contention for winning her third Chinese Taipei title.

“I would like to thank the crowd for their support. I really need encouragement from them especially when things didn’t go well,” said Tai.

Tai is set to play No. 3 seed Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt of Denmark on Sunday.

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