Loh Kean Yew marches on at India Open, but ill Yeo Jia Min withdraws

Singapore shuttlers Loh Kean Yew (left) and Yeo Jia Min. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)
Singapore shuttlers Loh Kean Yew (left) and Yeo Jia Min. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — There were contrasting fortunes for Singapore's top shuttlers Loh Kean Yew and Yeo Jia Min at the India Open quarter-finals in New Delhi on Friday (14 January).

While Loh - the reigning men's world champion - had little trouble in defeating Russia's Sergey Sirant 21-16, 21-13 in 33 minutes, Yeo was forced to withdraw from her match with illness.

Loh, who is ranked at a career-high world No.15, is the highest seed left in his side of the draw, and will face Canada's 39th-ranked Brian Yang in the semi-finals.

Against world No.76 Sirant, the 24-year-old raced to a 11-3 in the first set, before a lapse in concentration allowed the Russian to reduce his lead to just 17-16. Loh, however, recovered just in time to win the next four points and take the opening set.

It was a similar story early in the second set, as Loh sped to an 8-2 lead before Sirant mounted another fightback to cut the lead to 9-7. This time, however, it was the Russian who let his momentum slip away with a host of unforced errors, allowing Loh to comfortably take the second set and advance.

High fever forces Yeo Jia Min to withdraw

On the other hand, Yeo came down with high fever after her round-of-16 win over India's Anupama Upadhyaya on Thursday, and was advised by her doctor to withdraw from her quarter-final tie with Thailand's Supanida Katethong.

The world No.17 put up an Instagram Story post saying that she was not feeling well even before her match against Upadhyaya, and it became worse after her win.

"My head and body started hurting a lot more and I was having a high fever up to 38.6 deg C throughout the night," the 22-year-old wrote in her post.

"I really wish to compete but it's advised by my doctor that I shouldn't. I'm so sorry to disappoint those who were looking forward to support me."

According to the Singapore Badminton Association, Yeo had tested negative for COVID-19.

There was better news for Singapore in the mixed doubles competition, as Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han advanced into the semi-finals after a 21-15, 21-19 win over India's Nithin H.V. and Ashwini Bhat in 30 minutes. They will next face Russian duo Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova.

Hee was unable to maintain his winning momentum with Loh's brother Kean Hean in their men's doubles quarter-finals, as they fell to second seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty of India 18-21, 18-21.

The India Open semi-finals will be shown on StarHub Ch205 from 3.30pm on Saturday.

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