Earlier this year, Singaporean shuttler Loh Kean Yew trained with the world number two Viktor Axelsen from Denmark for a month.

At the time, few would have thought the two would meet in the final of the Indonesia Open, but that’s exactly what happened.

Loh, ranked 26th in the world, smashed his way through to the final, trouncing several worthy opponents, including world number one Kento Momota in the round of 16.

But sadly, Loh’s winning run came to an end yesterday (28 Dec).

S’pore Loh Kean Yew Defeated in Indonesia Open Finals 

In a match that many had dubbed “Master versus Apprentice”, the master came out on top, though Loh put up quite a spirited performance.

The match, which lasted nearly an hour, ended 13-21, 21-9, 13-21. The Dane took a 5-2 early on, but Loh managed to claw his way back to 6-6. From then on there was no stopping Axelson, as he raced to an 11-6 lead and eventually won the first game.

Where many would have crumbled, Loh got back on his feet and went all out in the second game, attaining a lead of 11-3 and eventually winning the game. But Axelsen defeated the Singaporean in the last game, which was a much tighter affair.

Loh can certainly hold his head up high despite the defeat as he’s the first Singaporean to qualify for the final of a Badminton World Federation World Tour Super 1000 event.

The duo had crossed swords just last month in the first round of the Denmark Open, where Loh had lost 21-19, 21-14.

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The 24-year-old had beaten two other Danes in his stunning run to the final – Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in the quarters and Rasmus Gemke in the semi-final.

You can watch highlights of his clash with Axelson below:

Earned Over About $40k in Prize Money

Another reason to smile for Loh would be the US$28,900 (S$39,600) that he brought home as the runner up in the tournament.

Loh’s biggest win came earlier this month when he defeated Malaysia’s world No. 8 Lee Zii Jia in the US$320,000 (S$432,000) Hylo Open in Germany.

He also came out the victor in the Dutch Open last month, which was his first international tournament in two years. It was his sixth international title.

Singapore Badminton Association president Lawrence Leow, like the rest of the country, is proud of both Loh as well as Yeo Jia Min, who became the first Singaporean to qualify for the Badminton World Federation World Tour Finals.

“I can attest to the many hours of toil our shuttlers put in, the many months they spend away from their families training and competing overseas,” Leow said.

“These last two years were especially tough as they had to also spend weeks in quarantine whenever they travelled…Kean Yew and Jiamin deserve all the credit for a fantastic season.”

The season is not yet over for Loh, as he’ll be participating in the Badminton World Championships next month in Spain.

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Featured Image: Facebook (Team Singapore)

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