The Malaysian contingent as a whole put on an abject performance on day two of the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals, highlighted by Lee Zii Jia’s 15-21, 4-21 thrashing by the in-form Viktor Axelsen in the men’s singles on Thursday.
The Malaysian shuttler was facing an uphill task to qualify from the group stage, especially after losing to Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien-chen on Wednesday.
While he gave the back-to-back Thailand Open champion a decent contest in the opening set, Lee’s body language throughout the second set was far from convincing as Axelsen barely broke sweat in the second set to whoop him 21-4.
With the win over Lee, Axelsen extended his own unbeaten streak to 24 games and plays Chou, who also qualified after beating Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting 21-19, 21-11, to decide who progresses as group champion.
The day started off well enough for the national contingent with men’s doubles pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi, who beat English pair Marcus Ellis-Chris Langridge 21-19, 21-18 in 53 minutes.
In doing so, they gave themselves a chance of progressing from Group A as the win took them to second spot behind Chinese Taipei duo Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin.
Ong-Teo can secure their place to the semi-finals should they beat another English pair Ben Lane-Sean Vendy on Friday.
It went downhill from there for Malaysia as women’s doubles pair Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen crashed out of the tournament following a 17-21, 7-21 loss to Indonesians Greysia Polli-Apriyani Rahayu.
Vivian-Yap had on Wednesday fell to team-mates Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean on Wednesday.
Chow-Meng Yean were also no match for third seeds South Koreans Lee So-hee-Shin Seung-chan, who dismissed them with a 21-15, 21-17 victory.
The Malaysians need a big performance against Greysia-Apriyani on Friday to stand a chance of making the last four.
Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai were also disappointing in the mixed doubles, falling with a limp 17-21, 9-21 loss against French pair Thom Gicquel-Delphine Delrue, while Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik lost 19-21, 16-21 to Russian duo Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov.