There will be plenty for Malaysians to cheer about at the Badminton Asia Championships on Sunday after Lee Zii Jia and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi both displayed scintillating performances to surge into the men’s doubles and singles finals.
Chia-Soh needed only 29 minutes to beat compatriots Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin 21-13, 21-16, while Lee took down Weng Hong Yang 21-11, 21-19 in 39 minutes.
In the all-Malaysian semis affair between Chia-Soh and Goh-Izzuddin, the former started in a fiery fashion against their national team-mates.
Goh-Izzuddin had problems adjusting to the high pressure their opponents set early on as Chia-Soh powered to a 11-6 lead, before sealing victory with a 21-13 success.
Chia-Soh’s speed and their ability to dictate the pace continued to be the difference in the second game and caused the German Open champions all sorts of problems.
Compounded with their numerous unforced errors, Chia-Soh strolled to a 21-16 victory to book their first final berth since last year’s Thailand Open, facing Pramudya Kusumawardana-Yeremiah Erich on Sunday.
Lee was also dominant against a rising star who had come through the qualifiers and slayed bigger names such as K. Srikanth and Anthony Ginting to reach this stage.
But Weng had a horrendous start against the Malaysian as Lee cruised to a 9-0 advantage as the Chinese struggled to deal with his non-stop smashes, which came at top speed from cross court and down the line positions.
Lee won the first game easily 21-11 and there wasn’t much optimism that Weng would be able to match the Malaysian in the second.
But credit to the Chinese, he upped his game and asked more questions of Lee as both shuttlers traded points until Lee took a slim 11-10 lead at the interval.
It was neck and neck until 16-16, before Lee pulled away with several smashes for the 21-19 victory to set-up a final showdown against Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie.
This is Lee’s first final in six months, since he retired at last November’s Hylo Open final against Loh Kean Yew.
The other final match-ups on Sunday see an all-Chinese mixed doubles final between top seeds Zheng Si Wei-Huang Ya Qiong and Wang Yi Lyu-Huang Dong Ping.
Akane Yamaguchi, who overcame P. V. Sindhu in a tense battle plays China’s Wang Zhi Yi for the women’s singles title.
Christie had beaten team-mate Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo in an earlier match.