Singapore's Kean Yew wins Thailand Masters in dramatic fashion
****Image Credit: Edwin Leung
China's five-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan was the top seed and hot favourite to win but instead the 35-year-old suffered meltdowns in each game and allowed Singapore's Loh Kean Yew to walkaway with his first world tour title.
The Malaysian-born Kean Yew, ranked a low 125, snatched a 21-19, 21-18 win in the men's singles final in the USD150,000 Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters at the Huamark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok on Sunday (Jan 13).
What made the win for the Penang-born Kean Yew all the more remarkable was that Lin Dan held a healthy 19-14 and 14-6 leads in the first and second games respectively.
The unseeded Kean Yew, 21, also had to come through the qualifying rounds to make the main draw.
The second game lasted 24 minutes but it took another meltdown by Lin Dan for Kean Yew's fairy tale run in Bangkok end with his first world tour title to add to the two Singapore International titles (2014 and 2017) and the Mongolia International he won last year.
"I am happy to get to play him (Lin Dan) and winning makes it all the more happy.
Lin Dan is a very experienced player who caught lot of my shots.
I used my younger age but I am also tired," said Kean Yew after his victory which made him USD11,250 richer.
The Huamark Indoor Stadium will also be remembered by Malaysia's Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying.
The Rio Olympics silver medal winners retained their mixed doubles title but more importantly it is their first title as professionals after quitting the Malaysian national team this year.
The Malaysians defeated Thai second seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai 21-16, 21-15. With the win the Malaysians stretched their head to head count against the Thai pair to 4-0.
The champions pocketed USD11,850 in prize money while the losers took home USD5,700.
It was also a winning start to their professional career for Malaysia's former world number one Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong in the men's doubles.
The top seeded Malaysians defeated fifth seeds Lu Ching Yao-Yang Po Han of Chinese Taipei 21-13, 21-17 in 32 minutes to end their miserable run for more than two years.
The Rio Olympics silver medal winners last title was winning the World Superseries Finals in Dubai in December 2016 where they defeated Japan's Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda 21-14, 21-19 in the final.
Indonesia's Fitriani Fitriani took the women's singles title with a 21-12, 21-14 win over home favorite and eighth seed Busanan Ongbumrungphan in 42 minutes.
Thailand, however, had something to cheer by winning the women's doubles through Puttita Supajirakul-Sapsiree Taerattanachai who won a three-game thriller against China's Li Wenmei-Zheng Yu 15-21, 21-15, 21-10 after a marathon 72-minutes.
RESULTS (ALL FINALS)
Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (MAS) beat Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA) 21-16, 21-15
Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (MAS) beat Lu Ching Yao-Yang Po Han (TPE) 21-13, 21-17
Loh Kean Yew (SGP) beat Lin Dan (CHN) 21-19, 21-18
Puttita Supajirakul-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA) beat Li Wenmei-Zheng Yu (CHN) 15-21, 21-15, 21-10
Fitriani Fitriani (INA) beat Busanan Ongbumrungphan (THA) 21-12, 21-14