SINGAPORE — Loh Kean Yew's maiden campaign at the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals came to an end on Friday (9 December), when he was beaten in his final group-stage match at the Nimibutr Arena in Bangkok.
Needing a win to advance out of his Group B, the world No.3 shuttler found Anthony Sinisuka Ginting a far too wily opponent to handle, falling to the world No.7 Indonesian 12-21, 21-23 in 38 minutes.
Ginting had beaten Loh in their two most recent meetings, including at the Singapore Open semi-finals in July. He is also undefeated at this World Tour Finals, winning his first two matches against compatriot Jonatan Christie and Taiwan's Chou Tien-chen.
Loh, 25, had began this tournament in scintillating fashion, subduing former world No.2 Chou in straight games on Wednesday. However, he could not convert two match points against Christie in his second match, succumbing to his nemesis for the sixth straight time in his career.
Against Ginting, Loh was slow out of the blocks, as the 26-year-old Indonesian befuddled him with deceptive shots and a variety of winning moves. The first game was quickly wrapped up by Ginting in 12 minutes.
Loh finally got into his groove in the second game, smashing aggressively to surge to an 11-6 lead. However, Ginting came back strongly, reining Loh in for two match-points at 20-18.
While the Singaporean managed to save both of them and even take a 21-20 lead, Ginting kept his composure to snare the last three points for the win. He advances as Group B winner, together with runner-up Christie, who defeated Chou 21-13, 12-21, 21-17 in an earlier match on Friday.
A year of unprecedented highs for Loh
Loh's defeat puts an end to his 2022 season, in which he rose up the world rankings to his current No.3 spot - the highest ranking ever reached by a male Singaporean shuttler.
He is also the first Singapore men's player to qualify for the World Tour Finals, an elite tournament in which only the top eight shuttlers in each category are eligible to play in.
Individual accolades also came in for Loh, as he was named Sportsman of the Year at the annual Singapore Sports Awards, as well as the Player of the Year at the Singapore Badminton Association Awards last month.
The only thing that is lacking from his successful year is a World Tour title, following his monumental triumph at last year's BWF World Championships.
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