TOKYO: National men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia started brightly before fading away to lose 21-8, 19-21, 5-21 to defending champion Chen Long in the men’s singles round of 16 tie at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza here, tonight.
Zii Jia, who is making his Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games, can take heart from a stunning first-game performance despite missing out on making the quarter-finals.
Despite injuring his right hand while leading 2-1 in the first game, reigning All England champion Zii Jia, 23, was in imperious form as he bamboozled the 32-year-old Chinese star for a big win.
However, the vastly experienced Chen Long, whose last competitive match was over 18 months ago when he lost 12-21, 18-21 to Zii Jia in the quarter-finals of the 2020 All England, cranked up the pressure to lead for the most part of the second game before winning narrowly 21-19.
In the decider, two-time world champion Chen Long showed the mark of a true champion as he dominated the proceedings to cruise to a 21-5 win after 70 minutes and go 3-2 up in his head-to-head record against Zii Jia.
At the 2016 Rio Games, Chen Long won the gold medal after beating national badminton ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei in the final, leaving 32 million Malaysians in tears.
World number six Cheng Long will meet Chou Tien-chen of Chinese Taipei in the quarter-finals Saturday (July 31).
With Zii Jia’s elimination, men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, who stunned Indonesian world number one Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon 21-14, 21-17 in the quarter-finals earlier today, are the country’s only medal hopes left in badminton. — Bernama