SINGAPORE — For the fifth straight time, Loh Kean Yew fell to his nemesis Kunlavut Vitidsarn. And with the two shuttlers being in the same side of the draw yet again in next week's Indonesia Masters, Loh will be desperate to find a quick breakthrough to end his misery against the Thai.
On Friday (20 January) at the India Open quarter-finals, it was not even close, as the Singaporean former world champion fell in straight games, 12-21, 17-21, in just 39 minutes at the K.D. Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi.
World No.8 Kunlavut's excellent defence has effectively nullified Loh's aggressive shot-making amid his winning streak against the world No.7, and has seen the 21-year-old former world junior champion sweep to victories at the SEA Games in Hanoi and the BWF World Championships in Tokyo last year, as well as last week's Malaysia Open in Kuala Lumpur.
Loh would be wondering how the Thai managed to take 12 straight points off him in the opening game, going from trailing the Singapore 7-11 to instead lead 19-11 before taking the game.
While it was a tighter second game, with Loh battling all the way to a 17-all tie, Kunlavut ended Loh's resistance with four straight points to leave the Singaporean despondent again.
The Thai will next face Indonesian world No.3 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the semi-finals. In the other last-four tie, world No.1 Viktor Axelsen will face either Taiwan's Chou Tien-chen or Indonesia's Jonatan Christie.
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