KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — National top singles ace Lee Zii Jia produced a scintillating performance en route to clinching his maiden All England Badminton Championships men’s singles title with a pulsating 30-29, 20-22, 21-9 win over Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in Birmingham today.
Zii Jia was in his element in a closely-fought first game as he used his powerful cross-court smashes to take an 11-10 lead at the interval.
Both players then fought neck-and-neck until the game was halted due to Axelsen’s bloodied knee when the game was tied at 20-20. That, however, did not stop Axelsen from putting up a good fight, although Zii Jia stayed calm, cool and composed to edge out the battling Dane 30-29.
The second game saw Axelsen taking charge to lead 14-11 before Zii Jia found his rhythm to win seven straight points to go 18-14 ahead. But that was just the wake-up call the defending champion needed as he struck back to win 22-20 and set up a mouth-watering rubber game.
Zii Jia was a transformed player in the third game as he stepped on the gas to take a commanding 11-5 lead at the interval. With the Dane fast wilting, the Malaysian never took his foot off the pedal and when Axelsen sent a backhand return out wide on match point, Zii Jia let out a scream of joy to seal victory after a thrilling 74-minute battle at the Utilita Arena. — Bernama