Lee Zii Jia beats Kento Momota to Enter All England Semis

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Lee Zii Jia (L) plays Kento Momota in the 2021 All England quarter-finals. (photo: AFP)
Lee Zii Jia (L) plays Kento Momota in the 2021 All England quarter-finals. (photo: AFP)

Birmingham: Malaysia’s World No. 10 men’s singles player, Lee Zii Jia, pulled off a huge upset by shocking the World No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan for the first time in his career, ending his 6-game losing streak against Momota with a 21-16, 21-19 victory in the quarter-finals of All England on Friday.

Although Momota once took a 15-12 lead in the first game, Lee was playing aggressively to score seven consecutive points before wrapping up the first game 21-16.

Lee started the second game with strong confidence. He was leading at 11-6, but Momota managed to level the score at 15-15 and 19-19. The Malaysian sealed the match point when he attacked Momota’s left-hand side, and the Japanese’s return found the net. Lee will take on Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in the semi-final.

“For me, this is a very important moment in my badminton career. This is the first time I defeated Kento Momota in our 7 head-to-head career meetings. I am really happy today,” said Lee.

“I knew this would be a very difficult match. So, I told myself I must focus on every shot, every ball, and every possession. As soon as I lose my focus, he is going to run away with points. Therefore, I put all my energy into every shot,” added Lee.

As for Momota, he admitted he didn’t play his best.

“I did not perform at my best level. I was too impatient and trying to score quick points, which caused me to fail,” said Momota.

In another men’s singles quarter-finals, Denmark’s No. 2 seed Viktor Axelsen eased past Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand 21-4, 21-15, to set up a semi-final encounter with compatriot, No. 3 seed Anders Antonsen.

Meanwhile, wo Danish and two Japanese men’s doubles pairs have entered the semi-finals. The unseeded Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark will play No. 3 seeds Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda of Japan while another unseeded pair, Jeppe Bay/Lasse Mølhede, from Denmark, will take on No. 4 seeds Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe.

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