Singapore’s Kean Yew stays grounded despite solid start

PETALING JAYA: Former men’s singles winner Loh Kean Yew of Singapore got off to a strong start in the World Championships but can he end the run without any blemish?

For now, the 26-year-old Kean Yew is not thinking too far ahead as he just wants to focus in his next match.

Yesterday, he started his campaign against a familiar foe Pablo Abian of Spain in a ferocious manner as he stormed into the second round in Copenhagen with an impressive 21-12, 21-9 win in 28 minutes.

Kean Yew, the 2021 world champion, had also started his tournament in Tokyo last year with a straight-game win over Spaniard Abian.

“It’s the same opponent but every other thing is different. Last year I played him but I can’t remember how the match went. Pablo is a fun player (on court) and I always enjoyed playing (him),” said Kean Yew, who lost in the quarter-finals last year.

“Every tournament that I play is different, so I just focus on each point and also get used to the court.”

Kean Yew is also expected to have an easy second round encounter against Adi Reski Dwicahayo of Azerbaijan tomorrow.

It will get tougher after that as he has been grouped in the same quarter with top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, ninth seed H.S. Prannoy of India and 10th seed Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan.

Last year’s quarter-finalist Prannoy also had a positive start as he defeated Kalle Koljonen of Finland 24-22, 21-10 in his opening match.

Prannoy, who finished runner-up in the Australia Open two weeks ago is likely to set up a mouth-watering clash against Kean Yew in the third round.

Tien-chen, who played in the major event when it was last held in Copenhagen in 2014, advanced to the second round after beating Kevin Cordon of Guatamala 21-16, 21-9.

Tien-chen lost to a young Axelsen in the first round in 2014 but the Taiwan shuttler could meet the world No. 1 again in a possible third round clash this time.

Tien-chen will play American Howard Shu, who defeated Anouluwapo Opeyori of Nigeria 21-18, 13-21, 21-19 in the second round.

Title challenger Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand, the only player who looks capable of unseating defending champion Axelsen, was also through with a 21-16, 21-14 win over Jonathan Matias of Brazil.

Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen of India cleared his opening match after beating Julien Paul of Mauritius 21-12, 21-7.

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