SINGAPORE — Against a wily rival, Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew took control early before withstanding a spirited fightback to defeat China's Lu Guangzu and advance into the Indonesia Masters semi-finals on Friday (10 June).
The reigning world champion, ranked 10th in the world, took the first set comfortably but was locked in a far tighter second set against his world No.25 opponent. Trailing 17-19, Loh used a final spurt of dominance to claim the final four points to win the tie 21-15, 21-19.
In the semi-finals on Saturday, Loh will be facing Taiwan's world No.4 Chou Tien-chen, who defeated India's world No.8 Lakshya Sen 21-16, 12-21, 21-14. Both have won twice in their head-to-head record.
If the Singaporean reaches the final, he could meet world No.1 Viktor Axelsen - whom he had beaten amid his memorable Badminton World Championships run last December, or Indonesia's world No.6 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.
Loh had started the Super 500 tournament - which carries a total prize purse of US$360,000 (S$495,000) - with a 21-14, 21-13 win over France's world No.25 Toma Junior Popov on Wednesday. He followed it up with another straightforward victory in the round of 16, defeating Indonesia's world No.46 Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo 21-11, 21-14 on Thursday.
This is his first tournament since earning two medals, a silver and a bronze, at the Hanoi SEA Games last month, when he lost to Thailand's Kunlavut Vitidsam in the men's singles final after leading the Singapore men's team to third place in the team competition.
Loh will be embarking on a busy schedule in the next couple of months, as he takes part in several top regional tournaments such as next week's Indonesia Open, the Malaysia Open at the end of the month and next month's Singapore Badminton Open.
He is also selected by the Singapore National Olympic Council to take part in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham at the end of July.
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