Lee Zii Jia untroubled in advancing to 2nd round of Badminton World Championships

Malaysian shuttler Lee Zii Jia returning a shot (PHOTO: AP/Kien Huo)
Malaysian shuttler Lee Zii Jia in action (PHOTO: AP/Kien Huo)

MALAYSIA'S top men's shuttler Lee Zii Jia eased into the second round of the Badminton World Championships after defeating France's Brice Leverdez in Tokyo on Monday (22 August).

The 24-year-old world No.5 - who is carrying the burden of trying to become his country's first world champion - took just 39 minutes to subdue his world No.40 opponent 21-9, 21-13 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

He next faces world No.138 Bernado Atilano of Portugal in the round of 32.

Lee has been in good form this year, despite being embroiled in controversy in January, after he was hit with a two-year ban from international tournaments following his resignation from the national badminton squad.

But the ban from the Badminton Association of Malaysia was lifted a few days later, and Lee has gone on to win the men's singles titles at the Badminton Asia Championships and the Thailand Open, allowing him to climb up the world rankings.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Ng Tze Yong advances

World No.42 Ng Tze Yong maintained his fine form after winning the Commonwealth Games silver medal earlier this month, opening his world championships campaign with a 21-16, 21-10 victory over Indonesia's Chico Aura Dwi Wardoto in 40 minutes.

Ng will next face Thailand's world No.33 Sitthikom Thammasin, who had upset Japan's world No.13 Kanta Tusneyama 13-21, 21-16, 21-13 in his opening-round match.

Veteran men's singles player Daren Liew had the unenviable task of trying to beat world No.1 Viktor Axelsen in his opening round, and was duly beaten 16-21, 12-21 by the Dane in 42 minutes.

There was better news in the women's doubles, as Vivian Hoo and Lim Chiew Sien advanced after defeating Germany's Linda Efler and Isabel Lohau 21-17, 21-15 in their opening round.

The mixed doubles duo of Chen Tang Jie and Peck Yen Wei also moved on to the next round, as their American opponents Mathew Fogarty and Isabel Zhong retired with the Malaysian pair leading 21-8, 19-2.

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