Loh Kean Yew eases into India Open semi-finals
World champion Loh Kean Yew continued his relentless charge at the India Open when he beat Russia's 76th-ranked Sergey Sirant 21-16, 21-13 in the quarter-finals in New Delhi on Friday (Jan 14).
The 24-year-old will meet Canada's 39th-ranked Brian Yang or Denmark's world No. 89 Kim Bruun next. The other semi-final will feature India's 17th-ranked Lakshya Sen and Malaysia's world No. 60 Ng Tze Yong or Ireland's world No. 45 Nhat Nguyen.
World No. 15 Loh is the highest-ranked men's singles player left in the competition following the withdrawal of several players due to Covid-19, and stands a good chance of winning the tournament, which would allow him to break into the top 10 for the first time.
Against southpaw Sirant, the Singaporean lost the first point but raced to an 11-3 lead in just four minutes with a series of devastating smashes and delicate drops at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.
The 1.85-metre Russian fought back to 17-16 but failed to impose his 10-cm height advantage and flat game as Loh managed to close out the first game and then the match with a backhand smash. He took just 33 minutes to advance.
Earlier, compatriots Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han made the mixed doubles semi-finals after beating India's unranked pair of Nithin H. V. and Ashwini Bhat K. 21-15, 21-19 in 30 minutes.
The world No. 182 pair will meet Russia's 19th-ranked duo Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova on Saturday for a place in Sunday's final.
Later in the day, men's doubles world No. 106 Loh Kean Hean and Hee will play India's 10th-ranked Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, Singapore's top women's singles player, world No. 17 Yeo Jia Min, withdrew from the competition after going down with a fever.
The 22-year-old had felt before her 13-21, 21-7, 21-12 second-round win over India's Anupama Upadhyaya on Thursday, later pulled out of her quarter-final against Thailand's Supanida Katethong.