May 3, 2023
SINGAPORE – Loh Kean Yew was one match away from being crowned Asian champion on Sunday, but Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting proved one step too far.
Players from the badminton-mad country have been an obstacle for Loh more often than not.
In the last 10 months, he has tasted defeat six times in eight outings against Indonesians.
Loh, who rose to world No. 4 this week, lost four times to current No. 2 Ginting and once each to Jonatan Christie (No. 6) and Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo (No. 19).
His two victories came against 62nd-ranked Tommy Sugiarto in the last 16 of the Singapore Open last July and Shesar Hiren Rhustavito (No. 29) at the Hylo Open’s second round in November.
Following Sunday’s defeat by Ginting at the Asian Championships final, Loh believes his Indonesian counterparts have found a way to neutralise his playing style.
He said: “Their team has probably analysed my game plan more thoroughly but, in order to be the best, I need to beat everyone.
“So I’m still trying and trying to improve as much as possible. Hopefully, things get better soon.”
The 25-year-old will be heartened by an improved showing at the Asian championships, where he beat Hong Kong’s No. 17 Lee Cheuk Yiu en route to reaching his first final since the SEA Games in 2022.
Loh said: “To be able to go to the final, that itself is an achievement.
“I’ve never won against Cheuk Yiu and I’m glad I managed to break that duck.
“That’s a milestone for myself.”
Next up for Loh is the upcoming Cambodia SEA Games, though he will compete in only the men’s team event before travelling to Suzhou, China, for the Sudirman Cup from May 14 to 21.
Loh said he is used to such a hectic schedule, adding that “it’s part of the journey”.
Singapore have been handed a tough draw at the Sudirman Cup against defending champions China, world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen’s Denmark and Egypt.
“At the Sudirman Cup, you can’t really expect any easy groups,” added Loh.
“We can see it as a challenge and go out there and try to beat the others.
“I mean, we are the underdog. So we will go out there and fight.”