Loh Kean Yew falters against inspired Anthony Ginting as Singapore Open wait goes on

Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew stretches to return against Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in their men's singles semi-final match during at the Singapore Badminton Open.
Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew stretches to return against Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in their men's singles semi-final match during at the Singapore Badminton Open. (PHOTO: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The wait goes on for the next local men's singles winner at the Singapore Badminton Open after Wee Choon Seng way back in 1962.

Reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew met his match in the semi-finals on Saturday (16 July), as the 25-year-old succumbed 17-21, 14-21 to an inspired Anthony Sinisuka Ginting at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

While it was still Loh's best-ever showing at the Open, it felt like a wasted opportunity for the world No.9, with world No.6 Ginting being the only higher-ranked shuttler left in final four.

However, Loh insisted that he was satisfied with how he had fared throughout the tournament, and when faced with a wily and in-form opponent in Ginting, he could only say that he tried to be brave, but could not pull off shots that were out of his ordinary repertoire.

"I've tried my best to adapt to the situation, change my tactics, but that didn't work out. (Ginting) managed to control the game and I could not, so it was disappointing," he said after his loss.

Indeed, Ginting was able to repeatedly force Loh into last-ditch lifts that became easy smashes for the Indonesian, so much so that the crowd of home supporters groaned whenever Loh scrambled into another wild return.

While Loh was unable to create history at the Open, his semi-final showing capped an intense two-month run of regional competitions where he reached two semi-finals (Singapore Open and Indonesia Masters), one quarter-final (Indonesia Open) but also a first-round exit (Malaysia Open).

"I played some good matches in this period, but I need to work on my consistency," he said. "At the very least, I felt that I performed in every game I played, but sometimes the results didn't go my way."

Ginting will next face Japan's Kodai Naraoka, who belied his world No.43 ranking to be on a stirring giant-killing run at the Open.

Having already eliminated Indonesia's world No.8 Jonatan Christie in the round-of-16 and India's world No.19 H.S. Prannoy in the quarter-finals, the 21-year-old continued to upset the rankings on Saturday, defeating world No.26 Zhao Junpeng of China 21-18, 25-23 to reach his second BWF World Tour final of his career.

Results of other semi-finals

The women's singles final will be between India's world No.7 Pusarla V. Sindhu and China's world No.11 Wang Zhiyi.

Sindhu, the 2019 world champion, easily defeated her semi-final opponent, Japan's Saena Kawakami, 21-15, 21-7 in 32 minutes. Wang, who is the current Asian champion, had a similarly comfortable tie against Japan's Aya Ohori, taking 38 minutes to emerge victorious in 21-14, 21-14.

There was controversy in the all-Indonesia men's doubles semi-final between veterans Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan and up-and-coming Leo Rolly Carnando/Daniel Marthin.

During a crucial stage of the second game, the umpire entered a wrong scoreline following a challenge and, following a long delay, gave the scoreline in Carnando/Marthin's advantage. That took the momentum away from Ahsan and Hendra, who succumbed in three games, 21-9, 18-21, 20-22.

The second all-Indonesia men's doubles semi-final was far more straightforward, as Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto defeated Sabar Karyaman Gutama and Moh Reza Pahlevi Isfanahni 21-11, 21-7.

In the women's doubles, Malaysian Open winners Apriyani Rahayu and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti of Indonesia came from behind to defeat Thailand's Supissara Paewsampran and Puttita Supajirakul 19-21, 21-13, 21-19.

They will face the fifth-seeded Chinese pair Zhang Shuxian and Huang Dongping, who ousted compatriots Du Yue and Li Wenmei 21-18, 21-18.

The only top seeds left in the Open, Thailand's mixed doubles duo of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai, made it to the final after winning a titanic 65-minute duel with Malaysia's Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jaemie Lai, 21-17, 16-21, 22-20.

They will face China's Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dongping, who took just 27 minutes to defeat compatriots Guo Xinwa and Zhang Shuxian 21-8, 21-9.

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