SINGAPORE — A day after sealing his spot in the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals, Loh Kean Yew found himself in a tough tussle with China's Li Shifeng at the Australia Badminton Open in Sydney on Thursday (17 November).
The former world champion eventually prevailed after 62 minutes, edging out his world No.27 opponent 21-10, 12-21, 23-21 to advanced into his fourth consecutive quarter-final on the World Tour circuit.
His reward? The Singaporean world No.3 is now the highest seed left in the men's singles draw, after top seed and old rival Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia crashed out.
Loh will next face another Chinese shuttler - former world No.2 Shi Yuqi, whom he had beaten at the Hylo Open in Germany earlier this month. Shi had defeated compatriot Weng Hongyang 21-14, 21-7 to advance.
World No.2 Lee's 22-20, 15-21, 16-21 defeat by China's world No.19 Lu Guangzu proved costly for the Malaysian, as he failed to overtake Lu to enter the top eight of the World Tour Rankings this year.
This means that Lee does not qualify for the World Tour Finals, as he can only finish ninth in the rankings for this year. Only the top eight players in each category - men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, and mixed doubles - qualify for the tournament.
For the men's singles, the eight players who qualified for the World Tour Finals are: Viktor Axelsen, Chou Tien-chen, H.S. Prannoy, Jonatan Christie, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, Kodai Naraoka, Loh and Lu.
Mixed doubles duo miss out on qualifying
In the mixed doubles competition, Singapore's Terry Hee and Jessica Tan were unable to overcome their higher-ranked opponents in the round of 16, losing 21-13, 15-21, 15-21 to South Korea's Seo Seung-jae and Chae Yu-jung.
The loss meant the Commonwealth Games gold medallists miss out on qualifying for the World Tour Finals, as they had to win the Australian Open in order to leapfrog from 12th place to eighth in the mixed doubles ranking.
The World Tour Finals has been shifted from Guangzhou to Bangkok, and will be played from 7 to 11 December.
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