Singapore's Loh Kean Yew falls at first hurdle in German Open
World No. 9 Loh Kean Yew opened his 2022 European campaign on a losing note, going down to Canada's 33rd-ranked Brian Yang 12-21, 21-16, 21-18 in the first round of the German Open in Mulheim on Wednesday (March 9).
Both players are familiar with each other, having trained together alongside Denmark's Olympic champion and world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in Dubai, and it made for a high-tempo and entertaining match at the Westenergie Sporthalle.
The Singaporean world champion got off to a flying start, pulling off good smash and follow-up combinations to win 15 out of the last 18 points to take the opening game in just 13 minutes.
However, 20-year-old Yang took control of the second game with a series of deceptive shots that forced a decider.
Loh, 24, stepped up a gear and went on the offensive in the rubber game to lead 10-5, 15-11, and 18-16, but Yang kept coming back, forcing errors from his more illustrious opponent to record his first win over Loh in three attempts.
In Thursday's second round, Yang will play Japan's world No. 19 Kenta Nishimoto, who stunned his compatriot, world No. 2 and two-time world champion Kento Momota, 23-21, 21-9 at the US$180,000 (S$245,000) Badminton World Federation World Tour Super 300 event.
Loh, on the other hand, cashes out for US$630 and will now prepare for the March 16-20 All England Open in Birmingham, where he faces Denmark's world No. 3 Anders Antonsen in the first round.