SINGAPORE: Despite showing great tenacity and determination throughout the match, Loh Kean Yew couldn’t quite overcome the formidable challenge posed by his Danish opponent Viktor Axelsen at the 2023 China Open quarter-finals, as Singapore’s top badminton player succumbed to a 17-21, 21-23 defeat in the keenly contested match.
In the first set, Loh fought valiantly, displaying his trademark agility and precision. However, Axelsen’s relentless attack proved too much to handle, resulting in a narrow 17-21 loss for the Singaporean player.
Refusing to give up, Loh came roaring back in the second set, determined to turn the tide in his favour. The battle between these two top world-ranking badminton players intensified as they exchanged stunning shots and tactical manoeuvres. Despite his best efforts, the Singaporean player fell just short, losing the set 21-23 and bringing an end to his campaign in the China Open.
Loh suffered his seventh career loss to Axelsen in a match that lasted just over 50 minutes at the Olympic Sports Centre in Changzhou. This defeat also marked his second loss to the Danish player this year. In their previous encounter at the Sudirman Cup Group A match, Loh was defeated 23-21, 13-21, 16-21 by Axelsen.
The Singapore badminton player has achieved two career victories over the world number one. His first win against Axelsen occurred during the 2021 BWF World Championships in the Round of 64 match. The second triumph took place last year at the Denmark Open quarter-final match, where Loh emerged as the winner with a score of 21-17, 21-10 against the Danish shuttler.
Loh, currently ranked eighth in the world, had a positive start to the 2023 China Open on Sept 5. He kicked off the tournament with a long-awaited victory over Christian Popov in the Round of 32, winning 21-14, 21-17. Pride was restored as Loh avenged his shock 10-21, 21-23 defeat by the Frenchman in the 2023 Singapore Open Round of 16. The 2021 world champion then took on Anders Antonsen in the Round of 16, winning 21-17, 21-12 two days later.
“Every win is a good one, so I am happy right now. I did not think much of how, but I just kept trying. I remember most of it, all the different matches in the Super 1000 all gave me different experiences, so I am looking forward to this one as well. Hopefully it will be a good one. Doing well in every tournament definitely helps,” said Loh after his win against Antonsen in the Round of 16.
There were other Team Singapore badminton players in the China Open, but they exited the competition in the first round. Singapore national women’s badminton player Yeo Jia Min suffered a 17-21, 19-21 defeat at the hands of China’s Wang Zhi Yi. Singapore’s mixed doubles pairing, Terry Hee and Jessica Tan went down 17-21, 12-21 to China’s Feng Yan Zhe and Huang Dong Ping.
Loh and the Team Singapore badminton players will next compete at the Hong Kong Open scheduled from Sept 12 to Sept 17, before they travel to Hangzhou, China, to participate in the Asian Games.
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