World no.22, Loh Kean Yew defeated world no.1, Viktor Axelsen, in the first round of the BWF World Championships 2021.
The Singaporean faced the Danish world champions for the second time in three weeks and avenged his Indonesia Open finals loss. This was Loh’s first win over Axelsen, who beat the reigning Olympic champions, 14-21, 21-09, 21-06.
Axelsen was the hot favorite to win the World Championships.
The Dane had a dream run post-COVID-19 break, featuring in 11 finals, winning 7 titles, and also picking up his maiden Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
This was Axelsen’s fourth only loss this year.
Axelsen credited Loh for his performance, “I think he played like a winner today, he definitely deserved the victory, so I wish him all the best for the rest of the tournament.”
He also said, “For me personally the first game was okay, everything fell apart in the second and third. Loh stepped up and I stepped down.”
“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.”
The Dane was instrumental in the Singaporean’s development, who had invited Loh to train with him for a month in Dubai in August. Post which Loh won the Dutch Open in October and clinched his first BWF World Tour Super 500 title at the Hylo Open in Germany in November.
Loh plays Austria’s Luka Wraber in the second round.
In other matches, India’s HS Prannoy beat the eight seed Ng Ka Long Angus in a thrilling match, 13-21, 21-18, 21-19.
Anton Andersen, unlike his compatriot, kept things neat, beating Vladimir Malkov 21-16 21-13 in straight games.