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S'pore's Yeo Jia Min stuns world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi at world c'ship

World No. 32 claims her biggest scalp with 21-14, 21-18 victory at world meet

Singapore's Yeo Jia Min claimed the biggest scalp of her career by stunning world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi 21-14, 21-18 at the BWF World Championships last night.

Yeo, who is ranked world No. 32, went for the jugular right from the start and raced to an 11-5 lead just five minutes into the first game.

Moving her 22-year-old Japanese opponent all over the court with her array of shots, Yeo, 20, sealed her place in the Round of 16 of the women's singles in 39 minutes.

Yeo's victory followed that of her compatriot Loh Kean Yew, who defeated world No. 14 Sameer Verma in the men's singles yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The 34th-ranked Loh won 15-21, 21-15, 21-10 in 61 minutes to book his place in the Round of 32, where he will meet France's Thomas Rouxel today.

Loh, 22, credited a change in strategy for being able to overcome the 24-year-old Indian, who won three titles on the BWF World Tour last year.

Said Loh: "It was a long and tough match, we both started well in the first game, but he was more consistent throughout the whole first game.

"I managed to pick up the pace in the second game and made sure I took control from the front net because my opponent's front-net skills are good."

Buoyed by his win over the 10th seed, the unseeded Loh is eyeing revenge over Rouxel, who won their previous encounter 18-21, 21-16, 21-14 at the German Open in February.

Rouxel, who is ranked world No. 54, had defeated Russia's Sergey Sirant 21-18, 21-7 in the first round on Monday.

The winner of their tie will meet either world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen or Croatia's Zvonimir Durkinjak.

This has been a breakout year for Loh, who had been able to focus on his sporting career after completing national service last October.

He has reached three BWF World Tour finals this year - the Hyderabad Open earlier this month, last month's Russian Open and January's Thailand Masters, where he claimed the biggest scalp of his career by defeating five-time world champion Lin Dan to win the title.

Yesterday, Lin Dan, ranked world No. 17, suffered his earliest exit in 12 appearances at the world championships.

The 35-year-old Chinese legend lost 11-21, 21-13, 7-21 to India's Prannoy H.S. in the second round.

The reward for the 30th-ranked Prannoy is a meeting with top seed and world No. 1 Kento Momota, who defeated Spain's Luis Enrique Penalver 21-10, 21-7 yesterday.

In the mixed doubles, Singapore's Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Tan Wei Han lost 16-21, 13-21 to Russia's Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova in the first round.


"Jia Min showed consistency with good-quality shots.
Her fighting spirit was high, playing against the top seed."

- Singapore coach Mulyo Handoyo, on Yeo Jia Min's victory over Akane Yamaguchi

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