Singapore's Loh Kean Yew claims biggest win by defeating world No. 1 Kento Momota
National shuttler Loh Kean Yew claimed the biggest scalp of his career as he shocked Japan’s world No. 1 and defending world champion Kento Momota 21-7, 17-21, 21-19 in 69 minutes on Thursday (Nov 25) to advance to the Indonesia Open quarter-finals.
The world No. 26 will face Denmark’s 21st-ranked Hans-Kristian Vittinghus at the Bali International Convention Center on Friday.
But the fearless Loh will fancy his chances of progressing deeper into the US$850,000 (S$1.16m) Badminton World Federation World Tour Super 1000 event after conquering the off-colour Momota, who had won the Super 750 Indonesia Masters the previous week.
Displaying niftier footwork, the Singaporean continuously breached his opponent’s famed defence with a series of ferocious cross-court smashes to the southpaw’s backhand as well as delicate net play.
After being thumped in the first game in just 12 minutes, the 27-year-old Momota rallied from 9-2 down in the second frame to force a decider.
In the final game, the Japanese looked like he had the upper edge at 14-9 as his less experienced rival made more unforced errors. But Loh fought his way back and required just one match-point to seal the huge upset and his first win over Momota, who missed at the net, in two attempts.
Loh, 24, has been on a tear since his one-month training stint with Tokyo 2020 men’s singles champion Viktor Axelsen post-Olympics.
Not only has he won the Super 500 Hylo Open in Germany on Nov 7, he has also beaten a string of top players in the past month, including Chinese Taipei’s world No. 4 Chou Tien-chen, Malaysia’s All England champion Lee Zii Jia (seventh), Taiwanese Wang Tzu-wei (11th), Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke (13th) and India’s Lakshya Sen (19th).