Team Singapore

Double delight for Loh household

After watching his younger brother Loh Kean Yew lift the Dutch Open men's singles trophy, Loh Kean Hean was extra motivated to make it a family double at the Topsportcentrum Almere on Sunday.

Three hours later, Kean Hean combined with Terry Hee to beat Malaysian sixth seeds Tan Wee Kiong and Tan Kian Meng 21-14, 18-21, 22-20 for the men's doubles title and 1,350 euro (S$2,110) cheque.

Kean Hean, 26, said: "It feels amazing. Since Kean Yew has been travelling a lot, we rarely spend time together. So being able to play in the same tournament and end up winning our respective events is a great feeling."

The world No. 190 duo - both Penang-born - have been partners for close to five years and their chemistry showed against a new Malaysian pairing, even if it did boast Wee Kiong, who won the Rio 2016 men's doubles silver with Goh V Shem.

Singapore Badminton Association technical director Martin Andrew said of Kean Hean and Hee: "They both have good movement so they cover the court well, they have good front and mid-court skills which can make them difficult to break down by opponents."

And so it proved in the deciding game. Nearing the finish line, the Malaysians had done well to expand their lead to 19-16, and even had a match-point at 20-19. But the Singaporeans battled back for a morale-boosting win, their second as a partnership.

Kean Hean said: "We were very focused on our strategy of being more offensive and keeping the shuttlecock down and didn't really put a lot of thought into the score. I felt this made a difference psychologically."

The win was also a testament to Hee's fitness as the 26-year-old also reached the mixed doubles semi-final with Tan Wei Han, which meant he played four matches - two quarter-finals and two semi-finals on Saturday.

He said: "Playing four times a day was tough and sadly I lost the mixed doubles in the semis, but physically I feel fine."

Hee and Kean Hean will get the opportunity to build on their momentum as they are slated to play in the Oct 21-24 Czech Open and Oct 27-30 Belgian International next. - DAVID LEE

FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES

Team Singapore