Alor Setar: Malaysia rested Lee Chong Wei on Saturday, and the home team was defeated by China 1-3 in the 2018 Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC) semi-finals at Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium in Suka Menanti, Alor Setar, Malaysia.
19-year-old Lee Zii Jia who took over Lee Chong Wei’s place in the first men’s singles, showed his resiliency against China’s World No. 7 men’s singles player Shi Yuqi before going down 18-21 in the first set. Shi was able to determine the right strategy and tactics against Lee after he knew the preferred style of play of the Malaysian player, easing past the World No. 47 Malaysian 21-9 in the second set to score the first point for China.
“I am disappointed, and I felt tired after playing through several tough matches this week. I will resume my training to get ready for the Thomas Cup in May,” said Lee.
The Rio Olympic silver medalists Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong scored the only point for the hosts when they beat He Jiting/Tan Qiang of China 21-18, 21-12 in the first men’s doubles match.
Malaysia’s Soong Joo Ven however was no match for Qiao Bin of China in the second men’s singles match by going down 17-21, 8-21, before China’s Han Chengkai/Zhou Haodong showed better coordination and movement to beat Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi 21-15, 21-13 in the second men’s doubles match for the winning point.
China’s men’s singles chief coach Xia Xuanze however remained humble with his team’s performance.
“We are very lucky that Lee Chong Wei didn’t play, because he will cause a lot of problem for us in the first men’s singles,” said Xia.
Meanwhile, another men’s team semi-final tie was a dramatic contest that went down to the wire, when Indonesia and Korea were leveled at 2-2 before Firman Abdul Kholik of Indonesia came from 14-20 in the decider to beat Lee Dong Keun of Korea 22-20, 11-21, 22-20 in a fervent atmosphere on Saturday to score the winning point for his team.