SINGAPORE - National shuttler Loh Kean Yew experienced his first defeat as world champion when he was beaten 24-22, 21-17 by India's world No. 17 Lakshya Sen in the India Open final on Sunday (Jan 16).
In the 54-minute clash between two young rising stars at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, 20-year-old Sen produced better defence and fewer unforced errors to seal victory at the US$400,000 (S$539,000) event in New Delhi and claim his third win over Loh in five encounters.
This was Sen's 10th career title and first Super 500 triumph, the fourth tier of the Badminton World Federation World Tour circuit and the Indian received a US$30,000 winner's cheque, while world No. 15 Loh took home US$15,200.
The Singaporean, 24, will be disappointed to miss out on his second Super 500 and eighth career title, but to put things in perspective, he had won his first Super 500 event only last November at the Hylo Open in Germany.
A month later, he stunned the fraternity by winning the BWF World Championships in Huelva, Spain where Sen claimed the joint-bronze.
Despite the defeat, Loh is expected to rise to a career-high world No. 12 in the rankings that will be released on Tuesday, while Sen should move up to 13th.
Earlier, Singapore's world No. 182 pair Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han picked up their first Super 500 mixed doubles title after beating Malaysia's 40th-ranked duo Chen Tang Jie and Peck Yen Wei 21-15, 21-18 in the final.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.