Loh Kean Yew off to good start, beats Lakshya Sen at Badminton Asia Championships

He negotiates potentially-tricky opponent who had beaten him twice last year to reach round of 16 in Dubai

Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew in action at the All England Badminton Championships in March 2023.
Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew in action at the All England Badminton Championships in March 2023. (PHOTO: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Singapore's former world champion Loh Kean Yew got off to an ideal start at the Badminton Asia Championships on Tuesday (26 April), safely negotiating a tricky round-of-32 tie in Dubai.

The 25-year-old began strongly and finished with a flourish as he ousted India's Lakshya Sen 21-7, 23-21 in 37 minutes to set up a last-16 tie with either Jordan's Bahaedeen Ahmad Alshannik or the Maldives' Hussein Zayan Shaheed Zaki.

Loh, who is currently ranked world No.7, had lost his previous two matches to Sen - at the India Open final in January 2022, and then at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in August 2022.

Perhaps the losses were on his mind when he began the match aggressively, swiftly carving out a 12-2 lead and taking the first game before Sen could get a foothold on the match.

Stung by the setback, the Indian world No.24 began the second game much more steadily, maintaining a two- or three-point lead over Low as they traded points. Low, however, patiently chipped away at the deficit, finally breaking a 21-all tie with two straight points for the win.

Loh is in the top half of the men's singles draw, which saw top-seeded Indonesian Jonatan Christie conceding a walkover for his opening tie with China's Shi Yuqi after suffering an infection.

Only taking part in team competition at SEA Games

Loh and the other Singapore national shuttlers are taking part in this tournament, before heading to Cambodia for next month's SEA Games.

However, he is set to only take part in the team competition from 8 to 11 May, eschewing the singles event as he will lead the Singapore team to the more prestigious Sudirman Cup in Suzhou, which begins on 14 May, in the middle of the SEA Games.

Instead, it will be the less-experience national shuttlers such as Joel Koh, Insyirah Khan and former top junior doubles pair Johann Prajogo and Nge Joo Jie who will take part in the individual events at the Games.

Yeo Jia Min, Singapore's top women's shuttler, exited the Badminton Asia Championships after falling 17-21, 18-21 to Taiwan's former world No.1 Tai Tzu-ying in the opening round of 32.

There was better news for Commonwealth Games gold medallists Terry Hee and Jessica Tan, as the mixed. doubles pair advanced into the round of 16 after defeating Taiwan's Lee Jhe-huei and Hsu Ya-ching 21-14, 21-16 on Tuesday. However they have a daunting tie next, against top-seeded China pair Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong.

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