Team Singapore

Loh Kean Yew stays patient to defeat world No. 10 Kanta Tsuneyama

Singapore shuttler claims another scalp by defeating Japan's world No. 10

Patience has been the name of the game for Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew since the turn of the year, and it paid dividends yesterday when his measured approach helped him claim another scalp in his fledgling career.

Shedding his previous tendency to rush with his shots, the 22-year-old defeated Japan's world No. 10 Kanta Tsuneyama 24-22, 21-9 in the first round of the Indonesia Masters at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta.

Loh, who is ranked world No. 39, said: "I have been trying to play patiently and wait for the chance to gain points in rallies.

"My opponent was unable to keep up with the consistency and made mistakes in the second game. It feels happy to make it past the first round."

His next opponent will be China's 36th-ranked Zhao Junpeng, who progressed after a 13-21, 21-14, 21-19 win over Denmark's Hans-Kristian Solberg.

Loh had a breakthrough 2019, which started with him defeating China's five-time world champion Lin Dan in the Thailand Masters final.

Last month, he became the first Singaporean shuttler to win a SEA Games silver medal in the men's singles since Kendrick Lee in 2007.

Following his final defeat by Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia, Loh noted that he had lost because he was rushing some of his shots.

At the Indonesia Masters yesterday, the unseeded Lin Dan suffered a first-round defeat, losing 21-12, 21-14 to Denmark's world No. 5 Viktor Axelsen.

Men's second seed Chou Tien-chen also headed for the exit after falling 21-12, 21-17 to Hong Kong's Lee Cheuk Yiu.

In the women's singles, world No. 1 and top seed Chen Yufei was knocked out after losing 21-18, 21-14 to Denmark's Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt.

Singapore's world No. 26 Yeo Jia Min suffered the same fate, losing 21-15, 21-14 to Scotland's 31st-ranked Kirsty Gilmour.

But there were no issues for third seed Nozomi Okuhara and sixth seed He Bingjiao, who progressed to the second round.

Meanwhile, men's world No. 1 Kento Momota arrived in Japan yesterday after being released from a Malaysian hospital following a car crash that caused him to suffer minor injuries and left his driver killed.

The 25-year-old Japanese, who walked past waiting journalists without making a statement, faces two months out after suffering cuts to his face and multiple bruises when the vehicle carrying him to Kuala Lumpur International Airport crashed in the early hours of Monday.

Earlier in the day, he was discharged from hospital in Malaysia, and boarded a plane wearing a dark cap and face mask.

Momota had been in Putrajaya public hospital outside the capital Kuala Lumpur since Monday.

He will aim to return to action at the All England Championships on March 11, the secretary general of Japan's Badminton Association Kinji Zeniya told AFP on Tuesday.

Team Singapore