SINGAPORE: Singapore's Loh Kean Yew won his first career BWF World Tour Super 500 title on Sunday (Nov 7), after second seed Lee Zii Jia retired in the men's singles final with Loh leading 19-21, 21-13,17-12.
The 24-year-old Singaporean badminton player is currently ranked 39th in the world, but recently beat Lee, the All-England champion, in straight games in the opening round of the French Open last month.
Malaysia's Lee is ranked eighth in the world and was seeded second in the men's singles at the US$320,000 (S$431,000) tournament in Saarbrucken, Germany.
Lee started off the stronger of the two and his pinpoint smashes caused the Singaporean all sorts of problems as he took the first game.
But Loh was not overawed by the occasion and wrested back control in the second, as his solid defence left Lee searching for answers.
In the final game, with Loh leading, the Malaysian picked up what looked to be a back injury and was forced to retire.
Earlier in the day, Singapore's Yeo Jia Min was beaten by Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan 21-10, 21-14 in the women's singles finals.
The 22-year-old Singaporean is currently ranked 26th in the world, while her opponent is the world number 14 and was seeded fifth in the tournament.
The results represent a breakthrough for both Yeo and Loh as this is the first BWF World Tour Super 500 finals that both Singaporeans have qualified for.
In a Facebook post on Monday, the Ministry of Defence congratulated Loh for "flying the Singapore flag high".
Loh served as a transport operator in the army during his National Service and played for the Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association (SAFSA). He received SAFSA's best sportsman award in 2018, noted MINDEF.