Loh Kean Yew subdues Taiwan rival in his debut match at World Tour Finals

Singapore's world No.3 shuttler Loh Kean Yew retrieves a shot at the Australian Badminton Open.
Singapore's world No.3 shuttler Loh Kean Yew in action at the Australian Badminton Open. (PHOTO: Luis Veniegra/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — In his debut match at the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals, Loh Kean Yew produced one of his best performances of the year as he subdued Taiwan's Chou Tien-chen on Wednesday (7 December).

The Singapore shuttler, ranked world No.3, was in his element as he dived to retrieve shots and leapt to unleash his lethal smashes throughout the match, giving the world No.4 Chou the runaround as he clinched the Group B tie 21-15, 21-17 in 42 minutes at the Nimibutr Arena in Bangkok.

Seizing control early in each game, the 25-year-old opened up 14-6 and 12-6 leads in the first and second games respectively to gain the upper hand and see the match through despite Chou's best efforts.

The victory avenged the former world champion's narrow defeat by the 32-year-old Chou in the semi-finals of the Indonesia Masters in June.

The 25-year-old Loh was making his first-ever appearance at the World Tour Finals, where only the top eight players of the year qualify for each of the competitions.

He was drawn into Group B which includes Chou, as well as Indonesians Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Jonatan Christie. Ginting had beaten Christie 6-21, 21-10, 21-9 earlier on Wednesday to join Loh at the top of the group.

Loh will face Christie in his next group-stage match on Thursday. Another win will allow him to advance into Saturday's semi-final, although he has never beaten the Indonesian in five previous meetings on the BWF World Tour.

The other group features world No.1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, along with India's H.S. Prannoy, Japan's Kodai Naraoka and China's Lu Guangzu.

Axelsen had won the Male Player of the Year honour at the Badminton World Federation's gala dinner, held on Monday before the World Tour Finals. Loh was among the nominees for the award, together with Axelsen and Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia.

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