Lee Zii Jia checked into the last eight of the Denmark Open after easily brushing aside compatriot Liew Daren 21-11, 21-14 to set-up a mouth-watering showdown against Viktor Axelsen in the men’s singles affair in Odense.
Lee and Liew had never faced each other before, and both shuttlers came into this contest optimistic of their chances after convincing first round victories on Wednesday.
Lee had done well to carve out a gritty win against Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei, while Liew fought back to close out his match against fellow veteran Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in straight games.
But the younger Malaysian stamped his class to confirm victory in half an hour.
He will now face his All-England final opponent Axelsen, who beat India’s Lakshya Sen 21-15, 21-7 in a later game.
Mixed doubles pair Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing joined Lee in the last eight after a combative 18-21, 21-18, 21-13 victory over South Koreans Ko Sung-hyun-Eom Hye Won.
The independent pair’s 67-minute victory was not forthcoming early on as they succumbed 18-21 in a 20-minute battle.
The second game could have gone either way with both sides tied at 18-18, but some crafty play from the back court from Tan paved the way for Lai to find crucial winners as they drew level with a 21-18 victory.
That edge clearly took the steam out of the South Koreans, who surprisingly fell way off the pace in the deciding match as the Malaysians won 21-13.
Tan-Lai will now go on to face Japan’s Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino in the last eight.
They are the last national mixed doubles pair standing after Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai crashed out following a 14-21, 12-21 loss against Indonesian third seeds Praveen Jordan-Melati Oktavianti.
Men's doubles Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik also exited the tournament tamely after a 19-21, 13-21 loss to Japan's Akira Koga-Taichi Sato, but Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi made it through by beating Scots Alexander Dunn-Adam Hall 21-17, 21-11.
They will next face German pair Mark Lamsfuss-Marvin Seidil.
Goh Sze Fei Nur Izzuddin also overcame a tough encounter against India's Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty to win 14-21, 21-15, 21-15 and will take on Indonesian fourth seeds Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto for a place in the final.