Viktor Axelsen Beats Lee Zii Jia in Malaysia Masters Final

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Viktor Axelsen (R) greets Lee Zii Jia after the final on Sunday. (Photo: Bernama)
Viktor Axelsen (R) greets Lee Zii Jia after the final on Sunday. (Photo: Bernama)

Kuala Lumpur: The wait for Lee Zii Jia to clinch his first home title continues.

World number 10 Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia lost to Denmark’s world number one Viktor Axelsen in a three-set match in the Malaysian Masters final on Sunday.

Highlights of Lee Zii Jia vs. Viktor Axelsen in the 2024 Malaysia Masters final:

In the first set, Lee appeared overwhelmed by Axelsen’s prowess, losing the game 6-21.

However, Lee mounted a spirited comeback in the second set, displaying more energy to win 22-20, thus forcing the match into a deciding set.

The deciding set saw Axelsen once again dominate, despite Lee’s efforts early on. Axelsen eventually emerged victorious with a 21-13 win.

This marks Lee Zii Jia’s second defeat to Axelsen this season, following a similar outcome at the Thomas Cup in Chengdu, China, last month.

This result extends Malaysia’s drought in winning the men’s singles event at the Malaysian Masters since former national champion Lee Chong Wei last won it in 2016.

With this victory in today’s final, Axelsen claimed his first title of the season and his second Malaysian Masters title, having also won the 2018 edition.

As the champion, Axelsen took home a cash prize of US$31,500 (RM148,191), while Lee Zii Jia, who had to settle for runner-up, received US$15,960 (RM75,083).

After the match, Lee Zii Jia acknowledged that he still has much to work on to match the dominance of the world’s number one player, Viktor Axelsen.

“There hasn’t been a significant change in my game. I gave everything I had today, but this is the result.

“Everyone knows, even if I were at full fitness, it’s not certain that I could beat Axelsen. He’s an experienced player and I gave my best.”

“Of course, I am not satisfied with my performance today, but I have to accept that this wasn’t my day,” said Lee.

Despite not securing back-to-back titles having won the Thailand Open last week, Lee Zii Jia believes he is on the right track in his efforts to improve his performance leading up to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s been a good experience for me over these two weeks, and I’ve learned a lot. I hope to carry these positives into the upcoming tournaments as I head towards the Paris Olympics,” added Lee.

In the men’s doubles final, Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark finally stopped the strong run of forms by Jin Yong/Na Sung Seung of Korea, beating the Korean pair 21-18, 21-14 to claim the Malaysia Masters title.

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