BWF China Masters 2023: Lee Zii Jia’s Quarter-Final Exit Marks End of Season

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Lee Zii Jia’s hopes of playing in the badminton World Tour Finals 2023 next month are all but over after suffering a quarter-final loss at the BWF China Masters 2023 in Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China, on Friday (24 November), a tournament that’s live on Olympic Channel via Olympics.com in selected territories.

The world number 11, also ranked 11th in the race for the eighth and last Finals place, was downed by Japan’s Nishimoto Kenta 11-21, 12-21. As Nishimoto was the man directly in front of him in the standings, Lee’s Finals goal is now mathematically out of reach.

It was a disappointing end to the campaign for the Malaysian, who is guaranteed to finish the year 11th in the Race to Finals and is now effectively relying on three withdrawals from the Finals in order to secure an invitation to the season-ending event.

Lee is not entered in next week’s last Super 300 event of the regular season, the India International, which would have given him one last shot at earning ranking points. However, the second half of his season since a quarter-final run at the Asian Games has been a positive one for the 25-year-old, who was ranked as low as 18th in the world at one point earlier this year.

Nishimoto, meanwhile, will move into the top eight of the Race to Finals rankings with the result, with the potential to also overtake Denmark’s Anders Antonsen, who is guaranteed a spot at the Finals, for seventh should he win the tournament on Sunday.

Meanwhile, India’s H.S. Prannoy – one man who could mathematically still have overtaken Nishimoto – suffered a 9-21, 14-21 reverse at the hands of Nishimoto’s Japanese colleague Naraoka Kodai, which all but ends his own chances.

Prannoy needed to beat Naraoka and then win the India International, where he is seeded first, next week to confirm a top-eight spot. However, his quarter-final elimination in Shenzhen means that even if he wins in Lucknow next week and Nishimoto is knocked out in the first round, he will still be unable to overtake the Japanese for the last spot.

The Indian does however still have a good chance of moving himself up the rankings into one of the reserve spots should anyone ahead of him withdraw.

Featured Image: BadmintonPlanet

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