Singapore’s top shuttler Loh Kean Yew has managed to avoid facing world number one badminton player Viktor Axelsen in his first HSBC Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Finals group stage. The tournament is taking place from 7 to 11 Dec in Bangkok, Thailand.
But the player who is ranked No. 3 still has his work cut out for him as he is drawn in Group B alongside Taiwanese world No. 4 Chou Tien-chen, and Indonesia’s world No. 5 Jonatan Christie and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting who is ranked seventh in the world.
Loh will begin his maiden BWF World Tours against Chou on Dec 7, before taking on Christie the next day. He will face Ginting in his final Group B match on Dec 9. The knockout draw for the semifinals will take place on Friday evening at the conclusion of the final group matches.
“This year I have done pretty well. I have achieved what I have always said, my consistency. Now that I am world ranked number three, currently my highest, that is quite an achievement,” said the 2022 Singapore Sportsman of the Year in an interview with SPOTV.
“Everyone that comes here to play in this tournament, they are all very strong. Everyone is going to be a big challenge here. I don’t think any matches is going to be easy, so I am prepared to go all out. It is my last tournament of the year. It has been a tiring season, but just one more to go and I will just do my best.”
The 25-year-old will be looking to avenge his recent loss – 16-21, 21-8, 19-21 – to Chou in the semi-finals of the Daihatsu Indonesia Master in June this year. Loh had twice defeated the Taiwanese, at the HYLO Open 2021 (21-18, 21-13) and the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2020 (21-16, 21-17).
It will be a tough match against Christie as Loh had suffered five losses to the Indonesian previously. The latest defeat came earlier this year in the Badminton Asia Championships 2022, with Loh putting up a brave fight before losing out 20-22, 21-23.
The Singapore shuttler will be looking forward to his final group match against Ginting as the two had met three times this year. They met last month in Germany as Loh went down 13-21, 14-21 to Ginting in the Hylo Open 2022 quarter-finals, with the Indonesian going on to win against Chou in the final.