PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - Unseeded Singaporean shuttler Loh Kean Yew defeated 11th-seeded Malaysian Cheam June Wei 21-19, 21-14 in the men's singles final of the Malaysia International Series on Sunday (July 16).
This was the world No. 307's first tournament win since the Singapore International Series in 2014.
He made a giant-killing charge to the final, dismissing the 16th, 12th and 10th seeds and also benefiting from the premature exits of the tournament's two top seeds - Vladimir Malkov of Russia (world No. 61 ) and Goh Giap Chin of Malaysia (world No. 75).
"It's been a long time since I last played (competitively), so I didn't have any pressure and could play my own game. That was quite a big factor," said the 20-year-old.
The International Series tournaments represent the fourth level of Badminton World Federation (BWF) events.
With Loh, still serving his National Service, the win came as a pleasant surprise to the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) as well.
"It's only recently that Kean Yew managed to come out for training and even then he only had a short time to prepare so there was no expectation of him," said SBA chief coach Chua Yong Joo.
"There were a lot of good players in the draw and he performed well in this position to win the title."
The tournament was Loh's last competitive tune-up for August's SEA Games, where he is looking to better his singles bronze medal showing at the previous Games.
He said "I feel more confident of my chances (after this win), but at the same time I don't want to put unnecessary pressure on myself."