Badminton: Yeo digs deep to win; Loh’s hot streak finally ends

Singapore's Yeo Jia Min beats Japan's Saena Kawakami 21-19, 14-21, 21-14 in the second round of the Indonesia Masters. PHOTO: BADMINTON PHOTO
National shuttler Loh Kean Yew was beaten by Chinese Taipei's world No. 4 Chou Tien-chen. PHOTO: BADMINTON PHOTO

SINGAPORE - National shuttler Yeo Jia Min continued her push through discomfort to progress in the Indonesia Masters, beating Japan's world No. 49 Saena Kawakami 21-19, 14-21, 21-14 yesterday.

The world No. 20's reward is a quarter-final against Thailand's Phittayaporn Chaiwan today. The world No. 27 had stunned compatriot, eighth-ranked Ratchanok Intanon 18-21, 21-12, 21-17 at the US$600,000 (S$815,000) Badminton World Federation World Tour Super 750 event.

Yeo, 22, has a 3-1 record against Phittayaporn, having beaten the 20-year-old twice in their most recent encounters in 2019.

The Singaporean had been suffering from flu and body aches since finishing second at the Hylo Open in Germany on Nov 7, and had contemplated withdrawal before she gave it a go against Denmark's Line Christophersen at the Bali International Convention Centre and won 21-18, 21-18.

It was another tense 53-minute match against Kawakami, with the scores tied on 12 occasions before Yeo claimed the game.
The Japanese hit back but Yeo was the sharper player in the decider and picked her spots well with her lifts to the back court and drives down the line.

She said: "I'm about 90 per cent recovered. It's been quite long since I played Phittayaporn and everyone, including myself, has been developing for the past two years.

"I'll just continue to do my best to adapt and play."

Meanwhile in the men's singles, fellow Singaporean Loh Kean Yew's winning streak ended at six matches after he was beaten by Chinese Taipei's world No. 4 Chou Tien-chen 21-10, 21-12.

The world No. 30 was largely outplayed by Chou over the 33-minute match as he had no answers to his opponent's powerful body shots and was forced into making poor shot selections.

The win means Chou has levelled their head-to-head record at 2-2 after losing their previous two encounters, including a first-round match at the Hylo Open which Loh won earlier this month for his first Super 500 title.

The 24-year-old will claim US$1,800 in prize money for making the second round as he now regroups and focuses on bouncing back at the Nov 23-28 Indonesian Open, a Super 1000 event, at the same location.

He said: "My body is a little fatigued and I didn't have the patience to play the long rallies, which caused many unforced errors. I will work on my fitness and prepare for next week."

National singles coach Kelvin Ho summarised: "Kean Yew wasn't quick enough to adapt to court conditions and we will work on his fitness and court touches. Jia Min was resilient and provided answers to the problems her opponents threw at her."

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