SEA Games: Loh Kean Yew starts slow, finishes strong in opening singles win

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Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew in action at the Hanoi SEA Games. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/ Lim Weixiang)
Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew in action at the Hanoi SEA Games. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/ Lim Weixiang)

SINGAPORE — Singapore's reigning badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew began his quest of a SEA Games men's singles gold on Thursday (19 May), surviving a slow start to successfully advance into the quarter-finals.

Seeded first in the competition, the 24-year-old world No.10 dropped the opening set to Malaysia's Kok Jing Hong - ranked a lowly world No.199 - but recovered sufficiently to clinch the first-round tie 18-21, 21-15, 21-11.

He will next face the Philippines Jewel Angelo Albo - ranked 1,115th in the world - in Friday's quarter-finals.

Loh has been in good form of late. In last week's Thomas Cup finals in Bangkok, he was victorious in all three of his first-singles ties, despite Singapore unable to clinch any series win in the opening group stage against Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand.

At the SEA Games team competition, he also won his two first-singles ties, against Laos' Vixunnalath Phichith in the quarter-finals and, coincidentally, against Kok in the semi-finals. However, Singapore narrowly lost the last-four tie 2-3 to Malaysia and had to settle for joint-bronze.

Loh will hope to better his silver-medal showing at the 2019 SEA Games, where he lost in straight sets in the men's singles final to long-time Malaysian rival Lee Zii Jia.

In the mixed doubles competition, India Open champions Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han also advanced into the quarter-finals after a 21-14, 22-20 victory over Vietnam's Pham Van Hai and Pham Nhu Thao.

Other Singapore shuttlers who advanced to the quarter-finals are: Jason Teh (men's singles), Hee/Loh Kean Hean (men's doubles) and Insyirah Khan/Bernice Lim (women's doubles).

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