Loh Kean Yew fends off Korean opponent in Indonesia Open opener

·2 min read
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - JUNE 14: LoSingapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew of Singapore retrieves a shot in his Indonesia Open round-of-32 match against South Korea's Heo Kwang-hee. h Kean Yew of Singapore competes in the Men's Singles First Round match against Heo Kwang Hee of Korea on day one of the Indonesia Open at Istora Senayan on June 14, 2022 in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo by Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew of Singapore competes in the Indonesia Open round of 32 against South Korea's Heo Kwang-hee. (PHOTO: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew opened his Indonesia Open campaign with a hard-fought victory over world No.31 South Korea Heo Kwang-hee in the round of 32 on Tuesday (14 June).

The reigning world champion, who was runner-up in last year's Open, saved five game-points as he surged from 15-20 down in the second game to clinch the tie 21-12, 23-21 in 42 minutes at the Istora Senayan Stadium in Jakarta.

He improves his head-to-head record against 26-year-old Heo to 3-0, after beating him at last month's Thomas Cup finals and at 2019's Hyderabad Open.

Loh will next face world No.26 Frenchman Toma Junior Popov in the last-16 on Thursday. The 24-year-old world No.9 had beaten Popov in straight games in last week's Indonesia Masters, en route to the semi-finals where he fell to Taiwan's world No.4 Chou Tien-chen.

Should he advance further, he could face old rival Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia in the quarter-finals and Denmark's world No.1 Viktor Axelsen - whom he lost to in last year's final - in the semi-finals.

The Indonesia Open is one of three annual tournaments to be granted Super 1000 level on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour circuit, and boasts a total prize purse of US$1.2 million (S$1.7 million).

Loh will be embarking on a busy schedule in the next couple of months, as he takes part in several top regional tournaments such as the Malaysia Open at the end of the month and next month's Singapore Badminton Open.

He is also selected by the Singapore National Olympic Council to take part in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham at the end of July.

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