Olympics: Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew ousted by Asian Games champion Christie
Singapore’s world No. 42 shuttler Loh Kean Yew exited the Olympics on Wednesday (July 28) but put up an excellent fighting display in a 2-1 (22-20, 13-21, 21-18) defeat by world No. 7 Jonatan Christie at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza.
The 24-year-old had not beaten the Indonesian in three previous meetings, but like in all those matches, it was another three-setter.
At Tokyo 2020, Loh fought back ferociously after trailing for virtually the entire first set, rattling off six of the next seven points at 14-18 down to lead 20-19 and get back to game-point.
But the Singaporean failed to put away the reigning Asian Games champion and Christie, 23, capitalised, fighting back to take the set 22-20.
Rather than despair about the one that got away, Loh made sure there would be no repeat in the second game with a more pro-active display.
Coming back from 2-6 down, Loh first took the lead at 9-8, part of a sequence of 10 straight points which took the score to 15-9.
There was no looking back from there as the 24-year-old closed out the second set 21-13 to take the match to a third-set decider.
An upset looked on the cards when Loh, who famously beat Lin Dan in the final of the Thailand Masters in 2019, took a 5-2 lead in the third set.
Christie, a four-time SEA Games gold medallist, then fought back to take the lead at 6-5, never relinquishing it for the rest of the match.
Loh kept it close, most notably narrowing the Indonesian’s lead to just one at 16-17 and saving two match-points, before eventually succumbing 21-18 to wrap up their 68-minute encounter.
The 2019 SEA Games silver medallist’s compatriot, women’s world No. 30 Yeo Jia Min also exited Tokyo 2020 in the group stage, losing 21-13, 21-14 to South Korea’s world No. 18 Kim Ga-eun in just 30 minutes.
Both Loh and Yeo, 22, were playing in their first Olympics.