Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew first rose to fame when he beat the legendary Lin Dan back in 2019.
Since then, the 24-year-old has recorded victories against several prominent players, including Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia and Chou Tien Chen from Chinese Taipei.
On Thursday (25 Nov), Loh pulled off what’s arguably his biggest career achievement to date, defeating Kento Momota – who’s ranked 1st in the world – in a gruelling 69-minute match.
Loh, who’s currently ranked 26th, will face Hans-Kristian Vittinghus next in the quarter-finals of the Indonesia Open badminton tournament.
When Loh was scheduled to face Momota, many might have predicted a relatively easy win for the 27-year-old Japanese, who has been the top-ranked player since Oct 2018.
Yet on Thursday (25 Nov), Loh proved doubters wrong when he beat Momota in the Indonesia Open, held in Bali.
In the first game, Loh coasted to an 11-3 lead, using a number of cross-court smashes to penetrate Momota’s famed defence.
On several occasions, Loh also had the upper hand at the net — another aspect of Momota’s game many players have come to fear.
Loh eventually secured the game in just 12 minutes with a 21-7 scoreline.
The 2nd game was a much tighter affair after Momota won 8 points in a row, winning the game 17-21 after going 9-2 down in the early stages.
In the 3rd and deciding game, the Momota seemingly held on to his good form from the 2nd game and raced to an 11-6 lead at the interval.
However, Loh slowly chipped away at the advantage and eventually found himself tied 16-16 against what appeared to be a spent Momota.
Several close rallies later, Loh arrived at a 20-19 match point situation, which was all he needed to seal the game 21-19.
After 69 minutes, Loh beat Momota 7-21, 21-17, and 21-19.
He faces Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus – who’s ranked 21st – in the quarter-finals of the Indonesia Open today (26 Nov).
Speaking to The Straits Times (ST), Loh said he entered the game with the intention of outlasting Momota.
Despite being knackered towards the end of the game, Loh decided to “tahan” and “throw everything out there” at the match point situation.
Loh has been in superb form since he was invited to train with Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen in Dubai, earlier this year.
In previous tournaments, Loh defeated top-ranked players like:
He also emerged the champion of the Super 500 Hylo Open held in Germany on 7 Nov.
Meanwhile, fellow Singaporean shuttler Yeo Jia Min bowed out of the Indonesia Open after coming up short against Akane Yamaguchi of Japan — a rather familiar foe for the 22-year-old.
MS News offers our congratulations to Loh for the tremendous achievement and wishes him all the best for his future matches.
With promising shuttlers like Loh and Yeo, Singapore’s competitive badminton scene is no doubt in a good place.
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