French Open: Johannesen Downs Lee Zii Jia

Rising prospect Magnus Johannesen achieved one of his biggest results yet in his young career with a first round takedown of Lee Zii Jia at the YONEX French Open 2024.

There were other upsets on the day, with men’s singles sixth seed Kodai Naraoka, women’s singles fifth seed Carolina Marin and men’s doubles greats Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan crashing out.

Johannessen’s win stood out, for the world No.33 is in only his second year at the elite level, and capitalised on his chances against a patchy Lee, closing out the match 21-15 21-19 in 41 minutes. The Malaysian made a belated charge as he narrowed down a 7-17 deficit to come to within one point, but couldn’t force a third game. It was a reversal of the result from a year ago, when Lee had a comfortable 21-11 21-5 win over Johannesen at the German Open.

Big result for Johannesen.

“I was maybe not very patient and made lot of unforced errors,” said the Malaysian. “His defensive shots made me lose confidence. Through the whole match I didn’t have any control.

“The last two years he has had good results and a couple of upsets of top players, so he has progressed well.”

Johannessen hadn’t won a match in five World Tour events this year, and was thrilled with the result.

“I played really well in there. I kept to my gameplan and I took the right choices in the end.

“One year ago I lost to him very big. Back then it was one of my first meetings with a top world class player, but since then I’ve played others, and I hadn’t a chance against players like him and Viktor (Axelsen) and Shi Yu Qi, so it was a big one to get for me today.

Lee’s errors cost him.

“This year is when I’ve started in the World Tour. I played some good matches in January, unluckily I didn’t get any wins, but it was nice today to get the win that hopefully will give me confidence.

“Hopefully I can get a lot of confidence from this win, especially with the belief that I can play with them, maybe I had a little too much respect when I met them the first time. I also think that’s natural. So to beat him the second time, I’m really happy.”

Johannesen faces second seed Shi, who thwarted home hope Christo Popov.


Among the big results of the day were Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo’s 14-21 22-20 21-17 win over sixth seed Kodai Naraoka and Kidambi Srikanth’s 21-15 20-22 21-8 result over Chou Tien Chen.

In men’s doubles, home hopefuls Ronan Labar/Lucas Corvee rode on the momentum of home support to edge Ahsan/Setiawan 19-21 21-17 21-19.



“I have struggled to win matches on the World Tour as I was recovering from a back injury that I sustained last June. I know Kodai’s style, so I had to be prepared to not let him drag me into long rallies.” – Wardoyo

“A week ago during training I injured my back. I haven’t trained over the last week, so that’s why my endurance was a problem. My usual style is to play defence, but I tried to attack today. As my condition wasn’t good, I couldn’t sustain it. Next week I’ll go back to my own style.” – Naraoka

“It’s good to be able to win our first match in this hall, especially as this is the venue for the Olympics. It’s huge to be able to beat them, they are legends in men’s doubles. I think it was very close, and we managed to play the right tactics, try to move them, play long rallies, stay as long as possible in the game, and at the end that’s how we succeeded.” – Labar

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