Loh Kean Yew eliminated in World Championships quarter-finals after loss to Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn
SINGAPORE: Reigning badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew will not defend his title after he was eliminated in the men’s singles quarterfinals on Friday (Aug 26).
The Singaporean, who is ranked eighth in the world, fell 12-21, 21-17, 8-21 to Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn at this year's tournament which is being held in Tokyo, Japan.
Loh is seeded eighth in the tournament, while Kunlavut is the sixteenth seed.
It was the world number 17 Thai who got off to a strong start, as Loh made a series of uncharacteristic errors, not helped by the drift. Kunlavut would then take a five point lead going into the interval and did not look back.
But in the second game, the Singaporean looked fired up and led 11-5 at the break courtesy of some brilliant attacking play. A run of 10 consecutive points would cement his stranglehold on the game despite an immense comeback from Kunlavut.
The Thai would rebound in style in the third and took a 11-3 lead as Loh struggled. He then closed out the game and cemented his place in the final four.
This is Loh’s second loss to 21-year-old Kunlavut in 2022. Earlier this year, the youngster beat the 25-year-old at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games to take gold.
At last year’s World Championships, Loh went on a fairytale run which saw him upset a number of higher ranked players, including Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen, en route to winning the title.