(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Antonsen stunned by Loh’s speed and style
Date: 12/18/2021 10:38 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Antonsen was not able to repeat his final appearance two years ago and commends Loh Kean Yew’s game after he was not able to find an answer. Loh became the first Singaporean to reach the World Championships final. 

Hunting for back-to-back finals, Anders Antonsen steadily made his way to the final four. Loh Kean Yew with a more gung-ho approach, set up a first meeting between the two. The winner would get a spot in the final. 

It seems that Antonsen knows what he is doing when it comes to the World Championships. The silver medallist in 2019, sensing that his body needed a break, left sunny Bali early to get ready for the World Championships here in Huelva. 

Two paths
Antonsen has been very stoic in his work on court thus far. Making his way past Malkov, Karunaratne and Lee Cheuk Yiu without a fuss. Lee Zii Jia brought about the first big test in the quarterfinal, but he calmly let Lee use up everything he had left before making his move. When he did, it was checkmate for the Malaysian talent, 11-1 down in the third was when a distraught Lee had to call it a day. 

Singapore’s hero, Loh Kean Yew has been a revelation of late. Defeating Kento Momota in Bali to taking out Viktor Axelsen in his opening match in emphatic style. His dominance continued through two single-digit wins against Wraber and Wangchareon, before giving a solid quarterfinals display against H. S. Prannoy, 21-14, 21-12. 

Would it be Loh’s aggression or Antonsen’s control that prevails? 

A tight opener
After some excellent opening exchanges, Loh managed to set up five game points. The hardest point to win in badminton is 21, and Loh let Antonsen pullback level. 

-I slowed a little bit because I was afraid that I was too rushed and wanted to win too much. I tried to calm myself down but instead, I slowed down too much while he picked up the pace. Then it wasn’t easy to turn the tables, Loh explained. 

That is exactly what he did. Able to seal the opening game 23-21, he was then able to build a 12-7 advantage in the second. Loh then surge to the finishing line, winning 21-14 in the second. 

Antonsen, playing Loh for the first time, was impressed by what he was doing on court. 

-He’s extremely fast, he is one of the fastest players I have ever played against. Some of the strokes he had I have not seen before. He was playing like a guy with a lot of confidence and he was flying. 

Loh was asked what he thought of these words from Anders. Humbled by this, he laughed out loud and said. 

-I have been playing like this all along, I really do not know. I grew up watching Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan, so maybe I am a little mix and match of them? 

Having made badminton history, Loh comments on what he is feeling right now.

-Now I am definitely feeling very happy, but as usual, I need to calm myself down and stay focused. The battle is not over, and I still have the final tomorrow and hopefully, I can perform. 

Antonsen and his unlocked potential
Antonsen ends his time in Huelva and subsequently closes out the year by talking about his motivation to get even better. 

-I want to do so much better. I feel like I still need to unlock some of my potential and I have a lot to learn still. I am quite motivated, and I think this loss will motivate me even more. So, a lot of training and I will try to come back stronger in 2022! 

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