The local hope came good in a climactic ending, edging Shi 12-21 21-16 21-19 to make his first semifinal at a top-tier event on home soil.
It was level pegging until 18-all in the third, but a rasping backhand from Lee caught Shi by surprise. The Chinese saved one match point but on the second, Lee stuck his racket out in a reflex reaction, and Shi could only send the shuttle weakly back into the net.
Lee next faces top seed Kento Momota, who overcame Huang Yu Xiang 21-13 19-21 21-9.
“I must admit Yu Qi wasn’t at his best. You could see him struggling with his movement. But he is still a top shuttler who is very experienced and I couldn’t match him in the first game. Thankfully, I slowly found my rhythm and came back in the second and third. This week has been great, I have definitely improved and am more composed on court,” said Lee.
In the bottom half of the draw, Ng Ka Long Angus made his first semifinal since the Thailand Open in August, as he edged Jonatan Christie 15-21 21-12 21-18.
“After the Thailand Open (in August), I was struggling in the quarterfinals and I couldn’t go further. So this is a really great win for me at the start of 2020. I was very nervous today. I had to push myself to have more confidence on court,” – Ng Ka Long Angus.
The top seeds led 20-17 in the third after trailing 10-17, but their 10-point sequence was broken by Alfian/Ardianto, who prevailed 21-19 17-21 23-21.