SINGAPORE — A day after Singaporean shuttler Yeo Jia Min shocked women’s world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi at the Badminton World Championships, her compatriot Loh Kean Yew also emerged triumphant on Wednesday (21 August).
The 22-year-old world No. 34 beat France’s Thomas Rouxel 18-21, 21-13, 21-11 to advance to the last-16 of the men’s singles competition in Basel, Switzerland.
This is the first time a Singaporean men’s shuttler has advanced into the last-16 of the World Championships since 2011, when Derek Wong scored a shock 21-17, 21-14 win over Indonesian star Taufik Hidayat to reach the same stage.
Loh next faces men’s world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan, the 2018 Singapore Open winner. Should he beat Chou, he will become the first Singaporean men’s player to reach the quarter-final stage since Ronald Susilo in 2007.
He said after his win, “I’m very excited and looking forward to play with the No. 2 player in the world.
“After losing the first game, I told myself to be patient and stick to my game plan, maintain my speed. I was prepared to play more rallies, and I’m happy to be able to reach the last-16.
“Jia Min's win was also motivation for my match, as it shows me that anything is possible if we keep fighting. I will bring this mindset into my next match against Chou.”
Loh has already had a breakthrough year. In January, he won his first World Tour title in the Thailand Masters, memorably beating Chinese superstar Lin Dan in the final.
Singapore Badminton Association president Lawrence Leow is delighted with the progresses of both Loh and Yeo at the World Championships.
“It is great to see our youngsters progressing in this World Championships. A lot of Singaporeans are rooting for Kean Yew and Jia Min. I have been receiving many encouraging messages since this morning,” he said.
“Kean Yew’s win over Rouxel, whom he lost in their last meeting at the German Open earlier this year, is important. It will give him the confidence needed when facing a strong opponent in Chou.”