Lee Zii Jia Suffers India Open Second Round Exit

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Lee Zii Jia lost on Thursday in the second round of the 2023 India Open. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Lee Zii Jia lost on Thursday in the second round of the 2023 India Open. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

New Delhi: After last week’s first-round exit at the Malaysia Open, the World No. 2 seed Lee Zii Jia suffered a stunning India Open second-round exit as he blew a 12-9, 15-13 in the decider lead to go down to World No. 22 Li Shifeng of China 11-21, 21-14, 18-21 in 64 minutes.

In the past 8 months, Lee has been eliminated early in 7 of the 8 tournaments, with the exception of winning the silver medal at the 2022 Denmark Open. In addition, his playing style seemed to have been analyzed thoroughly by the China badminton team as he registered zero victories against Chinese players since beating Li Shifeng in the Thailand Open final last May. Lee was defeated by Zhao Jun Peng 19-21, 21-11, 19-21 in the round of 16 of the BWF World Championships, and lost to Shi Yuqi 18-21, 16-21, 21-12 in the Denmark Open final, went down to Lu Guangzu 22-20, 21-15, 21-16 in the round of 16 of the Australian Open, and Li Shifeng on Thursday.

With the victory on Thursday, Li Shifeng had earned a career 2-1 head-to-head advantage against Lee. Li will play World No. 3 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia in the quarter-finals.

Malaysia’s reigning men’s doubles world champions who also suffered early exits in their last three tournaments (first round of 2022 French Open, group stage of the 2022 BWF World Tour Finals, and second round of 2023 Malaysia Open) showed their resiliency by coming back from 8-12 in the decider to beat Lee Jhe-Huei/Yang Po-Hsuan of Taiwan 15-21, 21-19, 21-19 in 56 minutes. They are set to play compatriots and World No. 8 Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi for a spot in the semi-finals.

Teo/Ong were also made to work hard by World No. 33 Supak Jomkoh/Kittinupong Kedren of Thailand, before edging past the Thai pair 21-16, 13-21, 21-19.

The women’s doubles World No. 8 Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan were pushed to the limit by Taiwan’s World No. 32 Lee Chia Hsin/Teng Chun Hsun before winning the second round match 21-14, 16-21, 21-6. Tan/Muralitharan will meet World No. 21 Rin Iwanaga/Kie Nakanishi of Japan on Friday.

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