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Loh Kean Yew cruises into Badminton World C’ships last 16

Former world champion Loh Kean Yew was in devastating form as he blitzed past Azerbaijan’s world No. 75 Ade Dwicahyo 21-4, 21-11 in just 24 minutes to make it to the Badminton World Federation World Championships men’s singles round of 16.

The world No. 7 Singaporean will take on India’s ninth-ranked H. S. Prannoy or Indonesia’s world No. 21 Chico Dwi Wardoyo on Thursday for a place in the quarter-finals, where he could face home favourite and defending champion Viktor Axelsen at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen.

He has beaten Prannoy just once, en route to winning his historic world title in 2021, in three previous encounters, but enjoys a 5-2 head-to-head record against Dwi Wardoyo.

After limiting Indonesia-born Dwicahyo to a maximum of three consecutive points during the match, Loh, who reached the last eight in 2022, told The Straits Times: “I’m happy to be able to stick to and execute my game plan today, to take the initiative, be aggressive but also patient when required.

“The challenges are only going to be tougher from here on. My team and I will do the necessary analysis and recovery to be ready for Thursday’s match against either opponent.”

With the 26-year-old becoming the first Singaporean to make it through to the last 16 at this year’s competition, some of his compatriots will look to follow his lead after progressing from the first round into the last 32.

The Republic’s second men’s singles and world No. 98 Jason Teh will meet Hong Kong’s world No. 16 Lee Cheuk Yiu in the last 32 on Wednesday after recording his first win at the world championships.

The 22-year-old outlasted Czech Republic’s 40th-ranked Jan Louda 24-22, 17-21, 21-15 after 76 minutes on Monday, showing plenty of grit as he saved two game points in the first game.

In the women’s singles, world No. 22 Yeo Jia Min will meet Indonesia’s eighth-ranked Gregoria Tunjung after a first-round walkover over Frenchwoman Qi Xuefei.

In the mixed doubles, world No. 29 duo Terry Hee and Jessica Tan displayed good understanding and combinations to beat Denmark’s 23rd-ranked Mathias Thyrri and Amalie Magelund 21-12, 21-18 in 33 minutes on their first meeting.

A pleased Hee said: “Things went our way today and we managed to control the momentum to our advantage. In the second game, we lost our focus during the mid-game, but we stayed in the game, adjusted ourselves, pushed through to not let it slip.”

The married couple will face South Korea’s world No. 5 pair Seo Seung-jae and Chae Yu-jung in the round of 32 on Wednesday, and Tan wants to go into the match with a “nothing to lose” attitude.

She added: “They are one of the best pairs in the world, we just hope we can carry this momentum into the next match and give them a hard fight.”

However, there were no further upsets from other lower-ranking Singaporean representatives who fought admirably but ran out of steam in their respective deciders.

In the women’s singles, world No. 100 Insyirah Khan was defeated by 73rd-ranked Juliana Vieira 21-9, 19-21, 21-14 after 50 minutes.

In the men’s doubles, world No. 75 pair Loh Kean Hean and Andy Kwek were 11-10 up in the rubber game after some fascinating exchanges – Kean Hean won a point while lying on his back, before the Singaporeans led at the interval following a 36-shot rally in which Kwek and his opponent Tan Qiang had to change their rackets due to broken strings.

However, China’s 20th-ranked duo Ren Xiangyu and Tan capitalised on unforced errors to prevail 21-12, 10-21, 21-14 in 54 minutes.