Loh Kean Yew: I’ll go back and cry first

SINGAPORE — Top Singapore national badminton player Loh Kean Yew exited the India Open in the quarter-finals stage at the hands of a familiar opponent, Thailand shuttler Kunlavut Vitidsarn who won 21-12, 21-17, last Friday, 20 Jan.

Vitidsarn was crowned at the India Open men’s singles title as he defeated world number one player Viktor Axelsen 22-20, 10-21, 21-12 on 22 Jan.

In the semi-finals, Vitidsarn won 27-25, 21-15 against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia, while Axelsen defeated Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie 21-6, 21-12.

Loh and Vitidsarn recently met on the same stage of the Malaysia Open, with the Singapore player losing 21-11, 20-22, 21-14 despite putting up a good fight against the reigning SEA Games champion in a match that stretched to 80 minutes.

Loh was still in the mood for a joke during the post-match interview after he lost to the world’s number eight player at the India Open quarter-finals match.

“Probably I’ll go back and cry first. I am just kidding. I just rest, rest the mind,” said Loh.

“I am very happy that I have lots of supporters here. Everything needs to change. Overall I can’t remember much, but definitely not the way I played just now. It was actually okay, but it was more of my own condition that screwed up,” explained Loh, who is currently ranked seventh in the world.

Loh was leading 11-7 in the first game against Vitidsarn in the quarter-finals before the Thai player rallied to four consecutive points and levelled the points to 11-all. From then on, the 21-year-old maintained his composure and won the first game 21-12.

It was a more competitive second game, with both Loh and Vitidsarn trading points, not allowing the other to open a big point gap. At one point, it was 17-all, and it looked like it would go down to the wire. 

But several mistakes by Loh allowed the Thai to pick up the crucial few points to pull away from his Singapore counterpart and eventually win the second game and secure his spot in the semi-finals.

Loh’s next outing will be the Daihatsu Indonesia Masters, which will be held in Jakarta from 24 Jan. He will open the tournament against China’s Li Shi Feng. Loh has a perfect record against Li, victorious in all three previous matches against him. The latest win was at the Malaysia Open, with Loh winning 21-19, 23-21.

There were other Singapore shuttlers at the India Open. Women’s national badminton player Yeo Jia Min lost to Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong in the first round. In the women’s doubles, Jin Yujia and Crystal Wong failed to make it past the first hurdle, falling to Thailand’s sister pairing of Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard, 16-21, 21-17, 21-14.

In the mixed doubles event, Terry Hee and Jessica Tan put up a spirited fight against third-ranking Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino 23-21, 21-17. The Japanese duo went on to win the mixed doubles event.

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