Spain Masters: Loh Wins ‘Inner Battles’, Lands Overdue Title

The monkey is off Loh Kean Yew’s back.

On Sunday, Loh breathed a sigh a relief after finally snapping his three-year title drought on the HSBC BWF World Tour at the Madrid Spain Masters 2024 by IBERDROLA.

Spain is perhaps the 2023 Asia Championships silver medallist’s lucky hunting ground. It was in the Spanish city of Huelva he became world champion in December 2021, a few weeks after last topping a World Tour podium at the then Super 500 HLYO Open.

The Singaporean was runner-up at three events post that – India Open 2022, Korea Open 2023 and Thailand Masters 2024 – before finally getting over the line against Frenchman Toma Junior Popov.

“At the end, it got a little nervy. I’m glad it’s over, I’m just happy now,” said the world No.11 of the uncomfortable finish to the closely fought 21-11 15-21 22-20 58-minute victory. “It came down to the mental state and who was more daring to exert pressure.”

Following disappointment in three straight finals, Loh could be forgiven for letting doubts creep in; he was also pushed to deciders by second round opponent Christo Popov and in the semifinal against Wang Tzu Wei but found a way every time to bag what has eluded him for a while.

“I’m pleased I managed to overcome a lot of emotions and obstacles this week because I’ve been having inner battles with myself throughout. It’s a small step but I’m glad I made this step now,” said the 26-year-old.

“I tried to play to my strengths and cover my weaknesses but at the same time have better focus.”

Loh’s upcoming assignment is to improve on his runner-up finish at the Asia Championships in Ningbo, China next week.

Full Results


“We were more relaxed. In France, we were probably a bit too desperate to be champions and lost control as a result. We hope this title will spur us on to greater achievements.” – Sabar Karyaman Gutama on winning men’s doubles with Moh Reza Pahlavi Isfahani, two weeks after finishing second at Orleans Masters

“This is my second tournament of the year, after coming back from injury. That we could compete with Super 300 standard players is a huge confidence-booster.” – men’s doubles runner-up Yap Roy King leaves Spain more assured

“She had very good control of the shuttle. I was just running around a lot. Without control you can’t do anything on the court.” – Supanida Katethong on how compatriot Ratchanok Intanon defeated her

“This is too important for us, it puts us in a stronger position to qualify for the Olympics. The last we won a title was also at this tournament in 2021. We are so grateful for this.” – Pitha Haningtyas Mentari, mixed doubles winner alongside Rinov Rivaldy

Gutama and Isfahani celebrating their first World Tour title.

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