World No. 125 Loh Kean Yew stuns Olympic champ Lin Dan for Thailand Masters title

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Loh Kean Yew of Singapore reacts after his Thailand Masters match against Lin Dan.
Loh Kean Yew of Singapore reacts after his Thailand Masters match against Lin Dan.

Kuala Lumpur: In an almost David vs Goliath-type contest, Sunday’s Thailand Masters men’s singles final between the World No. 125 Loh Kean Yew of Singapore and the two-time Olympic Champion Lin Dan of China came to a thrilling end as the underdog Singaporean defeated the badminton’s all-time great in straight-set to claim the BWF World Tour Super 300 tournament in 46 minutes.

Loh battled back from 12-18 down in the opening set to reel off seven straight points and seized command against his World No. 13 opponent Lin Dan 21-19.

It was no pressure for the 21-year-old Singaporean in the second set when he was trailed 4-10, 6-13. Loh stayed focused in his first head-to-head encounter with Lin, started to speed up his tempo in combination with his excellent defense to ultimately snatched away the victory from Lin with 21-18 win in the second set.

Loh Kean Yew lets out a roar as he fights back from behind in both sets to beat Lin Dan. (photo: AFP)
Loh Kean Yew lets out a roar as he fights back from behind in both sets to beat Lin Dan. (photo: AFP)

“It’s really an honor that I was actually get to play with Lin Dan. I feel even happier that I was able to beat him,” said Loh.

“Lin is very experienced, he was able to return a lot of my shots, it’s not easy. I tried to outrun him on the court, and I am also very tired after the match,” added Loh.

Loh Kean Yew poses with his Thailand Masters gold medal. (photo: AFP)
Loh Kean Yew poses with his Thailand Masters gold medal. (photo: AFP)

Loh had eliminated four Chinese players Sun Feixiang (World No. 121st), Liu Haichao (World No. 229th), Zhou Zeqi (World No. 56th) and Zhao Junpeng (World No. 47th) in the earlier rounds before beating Wang Tzu-wei of Taiwan (World No. 29th) in the quarters and overcame World No. 30 Frenchman Brice Leverdez in the semi-finals. He became the second Singaporean shuttler to ever outlasted Lin Dan after former Singapore shuttler Ronald Susilo, who famously upset Lin at the 2004 Olympics.

Loh Kean Yew joined a professional Danish club Ab Aarhus last October in the hopes of becoming a more solid player. From the results at Thailand Masters, looked like the collaboration between Singapore Badminton Association and Denmark have brought them fruitful results.

In women’s singles, Fitriani Fitriani of Indonesia saw off Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand 21-12, 21-14 to claim the women’s title.

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