Giant-killer Yeo claims her second Vietnam Open title

Singapore's Yeo Jia Min trailed by as many as four points in both games yesterday against China's Han Yue - a semi-finalist at the Singapore Badminton Open last month - but rallied to win 21-19, 21-19.
Singapore's Yeo Jia Min trailed by as many as four points in both games yesterday against China's Han Yue - a semi-finalist at the Singapore Badminton Open last month - but rallied to win 21-19, 21-19.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

She was unseeded at the Vietnam Open, having been promoted to the main draw of the women's singles event from the qualifiers.

Nonetheless, Singapore shuttler Yeo Jia Min went on a giant-killing run in the sixth-tier Badminton World Federation (BWF) Super 100 event, which culminated in a shock 21-19, 21-19 win over China's world No. 37 Han Yue in yesterday's final at the Nguyen Du Cultural Sports Club in Ho Chi Minh City.

The 19-year-old, ranked 92nd in the world, also slayed higher-ranked opponents - Indonesia's Yulia Yosephin Susanto (59th), Thailand's Chananchida Jucharoen (86th), Hong Kong's Deng Joy Xuan (69th) and Japan's Minatsu Mitani (26th) - en route to the final .

It was Yeo's second senior title; she also won the women's singles title at the 2016 Vietnam Open - then a BWF Grand Prix event.

"I thank God for this win; I feel relieved and happy at the same time and I couldn't have done it without my coach and the support back in Singapore," the former world junior No. 1 told The Straits Times over text message yesterday.

She trailed by as many as four points in both games yesterday against 18-year-old Han - a semi-finalist at the Singapore Badminton Open last month - but rallied back to counter the Chinese player's variety and placement of shots.

"I didn't think much (when I was trailing); I just focused on getting ready for the next point," said Yeo, who collected a US$5,625 (S$7,700) cheque for her victory.

National singles coach Kelvin Ho, who was courtside with Yeo, was more effusive with his praise.

Ho said: "She was very brave, clear-minded in choosing the right shot at the right time. She was unpredictable in her attacking shots; she was focused and confident, too.

"During the first game, I just told her (at the interval, when Yeo trailed 11-8) that she was doing well; she just needed to put more pressure on her opponent."

Yeo, along with men's singles player Loh Kean Yew, were identified by chief singles coach Mulyo Handoyo earlier this year as having the potential at the world level.

Both shuttlers competed at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April, as well as the Singapore Badminton Open, where Yeo reached the second round.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2018, with the headline 'Giant-killer Yeo claims her second Vietnam Open title'. Print Edition | Subscribe