KUALA LUMPUR: It was a brilliant display of coming of age for 19-year-old Lee Zii Jia, who checked into the semi-finals of the Bitburger Open in Germany today.
Zii Jia, who has been enjoying a good run since winning his maiden senior crown at the Polish International Series in September, clawed back from a game down in the quarter-finals to upset third seed Brice Leverdez of France 19-21, 21-18, 21-10.
Just three months ago, Leverdez, had broken the hearts of Malaysians when he sent former World No 1 Lee Chong Wei packing in the opening round of the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.
In the third round, Zii Jia had staged a superb 21-17, 21-12 upset win over sixth seed Qiao Bin of China.
Zii Jia, who was only promoted to the national senior squad this year, will play Denmark's Rasmus Gemke next for a place in Sunday’s final.
The Kedah-born shuttler is also Malaysia's sole representative in the singles event, following the exit of Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin in the third round yesterday.
In the men's doubles quarter-finals, two of Malaysia's scratch pairings - Goh V Shem-Teo Ee Yi and Tan Wee Kiong-Ong Yew Sin - were involved in late matches.
Playing in only their second tournament together after the French Open last week, V Shem-Ee Yi were up against fourth seeds Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto of Indonesia, while Wee Kiong-Yew Sin took on second seeds Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark.