Loh Kean Yew thrashes Thai rival to reach BWF World Championships quarter-finals

Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew in action at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew in action at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (PHOTO: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger)

SINGAPORE — Loh Kean Yew continued his stellar form of late, beating another higher-seeded opponent as he marched into the men's singles quarter-finals of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Championships in Huelva, Spain on Thursday (16 December).

The world No.22 took 30 minutes to thrash Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen - ranked two spots higher than the Singaporean in the world rankings - 21-4, 21-7 in their round-of-16 clash, registering his best-ever showing at the elite tournament.

Loh was in such imperious form that he won 11 straight points to begin the second set, giving Kantaphon little chance of mounting a comeback as he eventually sealed the easy victory.

Should he win his quarter-final match on Friday - against either India's HS Prannoy or Denmark's Rasmus Gemke - he would become the first Singaporean to earn a medal at the BWF World Championships by advancing into the final four, as losing semi-finalists automatically earn the bronze medals.

The 24-year-old has already had a memorable tournament, following his first-round upset of world No.1 and reigning Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen on Monday. He followed up that momentous win with a straight-sets victory over Austria's Luka Wraber in the round of 32 on Wednesday.

It has been an outstanding final three months of the year for Loh, whose form soared after Axelsen invited him to train together in Dubai after the Tokyo Olympics in August.

Following that stint, Loh began his hot streak by winning the Dutch Open in October, then earning 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.

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