Lee Zii Jia dished out another top class performance to capture the Thailand Open title after a pulsating 70-minute triumph over unseeded Li Shi Feng, courtesy of a 17-21, 21-11, 23-21 victory to secure back-to-back titles this year.
Besides his ability to attack from any area of the court, the Asian champion showed another side to his game in this tournament as he displayed immense character, fighting spirit and staying incredibly cool under pressure to rack up the victory.
Lee’s triumph over Li stretched his unbeaten run to 13 matches since his semi-finals loss against Lakshya Sen at the All-England in March.
Credit must be given to his Chinese opponent, who gave Lee one of the toughest matches he faced.
Li had been on court for over seven hours coming into this final, having come through two qualifying matches to reach the final.
He took the first game 21-17, before Lee found his rhythm to level 21-11 in the second.
Li led Lee throughout the deciding game, and he looked on course for an unthinkable victory by leading 11-4 at the interval.
Lee, just like he’d done in the quarter-finals, did not let his head drop and battled until extra points were needed and found two priceless winners for the title.
The Malaysian’s reward was a cool $27,000 (RM118,503) as champion, while Li picked up half that amount.
Lee became the third Malaysian to win the Thailand Open after Yong Hock Kin and Hafiz Hashim did it in 2001 and 2005 respectively.
Tai Tzu Ying won the women’s singles after a 21-15, 17-21, 21-12 victory over Chen Yu Fei, while Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida edged another tense all-Japanese battle against Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara 17-21, 21-15, 26-24 to clinch the women’s doubles crown.