Lee Zii Jia produced one of the biggest comeback wins in his career, after recovering from a 12-point deficit in the deciding game to force his way into the Thailand Open semi-finals on Friday.
Lee’s 21-10, 14-21, 21-16 win over Shesar Hiren Rhustavito in a swansong encounter that lasted almost an hour pits him in a coach vs star pupil match-up against Liew Daren.
Liew was not short of heroics too, lasting the distance in another grueling three-game encounter to come out tops 21-10, 19-21, 21-19 against China’s Zhao Jun Peng.
Against Rushtavito, Lee was in his element in the first game, giving the Indonesian no chance with a slick powerplay that constantly gave him a 10-point lead throughout the match.
The Malaysian sealed the first game with one of the shots of the day, returning Rhustavito’s smash with a no-look return which left his opponent baffled.
But Rhustavito recovered admirably to win the second game 21-14, and looked on course for the semis with a 12-4 lead in the third.
Lee refused to buckle, and started to match his opponent with more composure and began swiftly racking up the points where he amassed 10 of the final 12 to win.
Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah were other big winners on Friday after a combative showing to eliminate Japan's Sayaka Hirota-Yuki Fukushima 24-22, 21-14 to meet another Japanese pair in Chiharu Shida-Nami Matsuyama next.
Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik also came through with a 21-17, 21-10 win over Olympic champions Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin, and they are up against Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto next.
Meanwhile, Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin failed to make it a double entry for the men's pairs as they lost 21-23, 15-21 to Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi.
It was also the end of the road for Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai in the mixed doubles after they lost 18-21, 17-21 to Japanese pair Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino.