S'pore's Loh Kean Yew wins Hylo Open for his first BWF Super 500 title
National shuttler Loh Kean Yew beat All England champion Lee Zii Jia for the second time in two weeks to win the Hylo Open in Germany this morning (Singapore time).
The 24-year-old was 19-21, 21-13, 17-12 up after 64 minutes in the final when the Malaysian world No. 8 retired after suffering a back injury to give the Singaporean his biggest win since upsetting badminton legend Lin Dan to win the Thailand Masters in 2019.
Loh told The Straits Times: "I'm delighted to win this tournament, but I hope Lee is not too badly injured. We both wanted to win this badly and put up a fierce fight.
"This is a good milestone for my career and I will continue working hard to make sure there is more to come."
At the Saarlandhalle in Saarbrucken, Germany, he had upset Taiwanese world No. 4 Chou Tien-chen, France's world No. 35 Toma Junior Popov, Denmark's world No. 13 Rasmus Gemke and India's 21st-ranked Lakshya Sen at the US$320,000 event this past week.
The world No. 39 will get a US$24,000 (S$32,400) winner's cheque and 9,200 points for winning the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 500 level, the fourth tier on the sport's professional circuit.
In the women's final, compatriot Yeo Jia Min missed out on the biggest title of her career after losing to Thailand's world No. 14 Busanan Ongbamrungphan 21-10, 21-14.
Nevertheless, the 26th-ranked Yeo had a good week overall to make her first Super 500 final after beating Taiwan's world No. 39 Pai Yu-po, Indonesia's 23rd-ranked Gregoria Mariska Tunjung, Belgium's world No. 38 Lianne Tan and Canada's world No. 11 Michelle Li.
WORLD'S TOP 20
For her efforts, the 22-year-old Singaporean claimed a cheque for US$12,160 and 7,800 ranking points that should see her break into the world's top 20 for the first time.
Singapore Badminton Association technical director Martin Andrew is pleased with the duo's development and progress as they complete a month of competition in Europe and return to Asia for the Nov 16-21 Indonesia Masters and Nov 23-28 Indonesia Open.
Besides being pleased with their fighting spirit and game management, he said: "Jia Min has started to adopt a more aggressive style, following up strong attacks with additional power shots and linking more pace together, while bringing in softer controlled play.
"She has performed well and started to be able to turn matches around in her favour. We will work on some areas but she is progressing well and can challenge the top women's players.
"Kean Yew has also started to show the level he is capable of. His attacking style of play is linking well with his agility. When he is able to play freely, coupled with strong tactics, he is able to attack and use his speed and defensive abilities well.
"This is probably where he has improved the most - the quality of his defence followed up by good offensive play. Kean Yew also has areas to develop, like getting confident enough to maintain this style of play and delivering consistently."