World champ Loh Kean Yew shocked by Malaysia's Ng Tze Yong in quarter-finals
BIRMINGHAM - Rediscovering his drive is top of Loh Kean Yew’s to-do list, after the world champion suffered a shock exit from the men’s singles quarter-finals at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday (Aug 6).
His 15-21, 21-14, 21-11 loss, to Malaysia’s world No. 42 Ng Tze Yong at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, was the latest in a string of disappointing results for Loh since he won the world championships last December.
Expectations of Loh have grown since his feat, with the 25-year-old previously saying that he was struggling with his form and consistency.
In May, he was beaten to the SEA Games gold medal by Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn and last month, his bid to become the first local to win the men’s singles title at the Singapore Badminton Open since 1962 ended in the semi-finals.
He said: “I need to go and find out the problem together with my coach, analyse and reflect again.
“Most of it is about myself, needing to find the hunger and overcoming the mental aspects. It’s not easy – I’m also human but I’ll keep trying.”
The Singaporean world No. 9 won the first game comfortably but was unable to keep up with Ng in the second.
Although Loh had initially led 4-3, Ng won 11 of the next 12 points to lead 14-5, eventually clinching the second game and forcing a decider.
Ng continued to dominate the quarter-final, racing to an 8-0 advantage in the third game and led 16-3 before closing it out for his first victory against a top-10 player.
Noting that it has been a tiring season, Loh said: “I have been competing since May, with just a bit of a break.
“I still tried my best, he (Ng) played a good game. But, for myself, I need to find out how to overcome it.”
Loh’s compatriots had better performances on the courts on Saturday.
Jason Teh will play against either India’s Lakshya Sen or Mauritius’ Georges Paul in the men’s singles semi-finals today, after beating Jamaica’s Samuel Ricketts 22-20, 21-10.
Mixed doubles pair Terry Hee and Jessica Tan defeated New Zealand’s Oliver Leydon-Davis and Anona Pak 21-11, 21-11 in the quarter-finals and will face Malaysian top seeds Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing, who are ranked 11th in the world, in the next round.
Tan admitted to being tense with a spot in the semi-finals at stake, but she is not too worried about the task ahead. While they have beaten the Malaysians in their previous two encounters, the last time the pairs played was in 2016.
Tan said: “We’ll have to up our level, up our standard, match them and hopefully come out on top.”
Yeo Jia Min also booked her spot in the women’s singles semi-finals after beating Australia’s Wendy Chen 21-15, 21-15 in the quarter-finals.
Despite the comfortable win, Yeo felt that her slow start had caused her to make some mistakes.
But she knows there will be no room for error today when she comes up against India’s world No. 7 and 2018 silver medallist P.V. Sindhu in the semi-finals.