Loh Kean Yew begins Hylo Open title defence with impressive win over Shi Yuqi

Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew celebrates winning a match at the French Open.
Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew celebrates winning a match at the French Open. (PHOTO: Shi Tang/Getty Images) (Shi Tang via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Loh Kean Yew's march to his monumental BWF World Championship triumph last year arguably began when he clinched the Hylo Open in Germany last November.

On Wednesday (2 November), the Singaporean shuttler began his Hylo Open men's singles title defence with an impressive 21-5, 22-20 opening-round victory over China's world No.37 Shi Yuqi - who had won the Denmark Open just two weeks ago.

The world No.5 took just 30 minutes to subdue his opponent, bamboozling the out-of-sorts Shi in the first game. When Shi finally showed his recent good form in the second game, Loh managed to chip away his lead and held his cool in the final passages to seal his victory.

Loh will next face Indonesia's Shesar Hiren Rhustavito, who advanced after his opening-round opponent, India's H.S. Prannoy, withdrew from the tournament.

Should Loh negotiate past his world No.23 opponent, he could face another Indonesian, world No.6 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, who defeated him at this year's Singapore Open semi-finals.

The 25-year-old has shown flashes of brilliance during this three-week European run of competitions. At the Denmark Open, he stunned world No.1 Viktor Axelsen in the quarter-finals before falling to old rival Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia. At last week's French Open, Loh advanced into the quarter-finals before succumbing to Axelsen in their rematch.

Meanwhile, Singapore's top women's shuttler Yeo Jia Min also made it through to the last-16 of the Hylo Open, after beating Taiwan's Pai Yu-po 16-21, 21-15, 21-15 in her opening-round tie on Tuesday.

She next faces Spain's three-time world champion Carolina Marin.

In the mixed doubles competition, Singapore's husband-and-wife duo Terry Hee and Jessica Tan also progressed, after beating Denmark's Mikkel Mikkelsen and Rikke Soby 21-15, 17-21, 21-13 in 54 minutes. They will face France's Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue in the next round.

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