Big shock as Singapore's Loh stuns Viktor in first round of world meet

Loh Kean Yew is all smiles after beating Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the first round of World Championships in Spain.

PETALING JAYA: Singapore's Loh Kean Yew pulls off the biggest upset in the first round of the World Championships by dumping hot favourite and Olympic Games champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.

Kean Yew defeated the second seed Axelsen 14-21, 21-9, 21-6 in 54 minutes in Huelva, Spain on Monday to set up a second round meeting with Luka Wraber of Austria.

It was Kean Yew's first win in five meetings against the reigning world No. 1. His two recent defeats this year was in the first round of the Denmark Open in Odense and the final of the Indonesian Open in Bali.

The Penang-born Kean Yew, who had sparred with the 2017 world champion Axelsen in Dubai earlier this year, was thrilled with his win.

"I’m really happy with my win. After I lost the first game I needed to be fast in the second and third. I needed to stay focused. I didn’t know when he’d get back, and if he gets back his confidence, I would die!" said Kean Yew in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) website.

"I felt he was under a lot of pressure and he wanted this very much. I’m sure he will come back stronger. I still have a long way to go, I need to be focused for my next match.”

Axelsen, who has won seven titles this year, took the defeat in his stride.

"I think he played as a winner today, he definitely deserved the victory, so I wish him all the best for the rest of the tournament,” said Axelsen.

"For me personally the first game was okay, but then it was something I’d rather forget, to be honest..I’ll take a few days and then watch it again to see if I can learn anything. I feel a bit burned out right now."

Meanwhile, Lee Zii Jia defeated Jason Anthony Ho-Shue of Canada 21-10, 17-21, 21-11 and should win against Ygor Coelho of Brazil in the second round.

Mixed doubles pair Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See also cleared the first round when they beat Ties Van Der Lecq-Debora Jille of France 26-24, 21-12. They made it straight to the third round as their second round opponents Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva have pulled out from the tournament.

It's over for Teoh Mei Xing-Yap Ling after going down 18-21, 17-21 to Denmark's Alexandra Boje-Mette Poulsen in the women's doubles first round.

Liew Daren, who defeated Misha Zilberman of Israel, will meet India's H.S. Prannoy in the second round.

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