Loh Kean Yew follows up giant-killing act with easy win at BWF World Championships

Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew in action at the Tokyo Olympics.
Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew in action at the Tokyo Olympics. (FILE PHOTO: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Loh Kean Yew followed up his giant-killing feat of ousting world No.1 Viktor Axelsen with a comfortable 21-4, 21-8 win over Austria's Luka Wraber at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Championships in Huelva, Spain on Wednesday (15 December).

Two days after the Singapore shuttler caused a major upset by ousting the reigning Olympic champion Axelsen in three sets in the men's singles opening round, he kept up his superb year-end form by dispatching the world No.93 Wraber in just 25 minutes in their round-of-32 clash.

He raced to an 11-1 lead, barely allowing the Austrian to settle before taking the opening set in 10 minutes. Wraber put up a stronger resistance in the second set, but Loh took control midway through, racing from a 9-5 edge to a huge 20-6 advantage to clinch the victory.

Loh, who is ranked world No.22, will face either Thailand's 16th seed Kantaphon Wangcharoen or Germany's Kai Schaefer in the last-16.

The 24-year-old had been on a tear since Axelsen invited him to train together in Dubai for a month after the Tokyo Olympics. He began by winning the Dutch Open in October, then earned his biggest career title in November by clinching the Hylo Open in Germany, which is a BWF World Tour Super 500-level event.

Late last month at the Super 1000-level Indonesia Open in Bali, Loh stunned then-world No.1 Kento Momota in the last-16 round, and made it all the way to the final before succumbing to Axelsen in three sets.

Loh's compatriot Yeo Jia Min was eliminated in her opening match of the women's singles competition on Tuesday, having been awarded a bye for the round of 64.

The world No.16 fell to Scotland's Kirsty Gilmour after a three-set battle, losing 15-21, 21-8, 15-21 in 69 minutes in their round-of-32 clash. It was her second loss in as many meetings with the world No. 21 Gilmour.

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