Badminton: Singapore's Yeo Jia Min into semi-finals of Hylo Open in Germany

SINGAPORE – Displaying impressive mental fortitude after losing the first game, national shuttler Yeo Jia Min recovered to beat Belgian Lianne Tan 14-21, 21-9, 21-18 in the quarter-final of Germany’s Hylo Open on Friday (Nov 5).

The battling win puts the world No. 26 Singaporean into the last four of a BWF World Tour Super 500 – the fourth-highest level on badminton’s world tour – event for the first time in her career.

And she did it the hard way against the 38th-ranked Tan, who benefited from tight line calls during the tense 56 minute clash but eventually ran out of steam.

Yeo will face either Canada’s world No. 11 Michelle Li or Turkey’s world No. 66 Aliye Demirbag at the Saarlandhalle in Saarbrucken on Saturday for a place in Sunday’s final.

The 22-year-old has been in fine form at the US$320,000 (S$431,000) tournament, dispatching Chinese Taipei’s world No. 39 Pai Yu Po, Indonesia’s world No. 23 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung before beating Tan.

Compatriot Loh Kean Yew also made a breakthrough to reach his first Super 500 quarter-final after beating France’s world No. 35 Toma Junior Popov 21-15, 11-21, 21-15 in the men’s singles round of 16 on Thursday.

The world No. 39 is scheduled to play Denmark’s world No. 13 Rasmus Gemke on Friday, and has already taken out two top-10 players – Malaysia’s world No. 8 and All-England champion Lee Zii Jia and Taiwanese world No. 4 Chou Tien-chen – in straight games over the past 10 days.

As their world rankings are expected to rise, with a career best expected for Yeo who was 24th in 2019, Singapore Badminton Association technical director Martin Andrew told The Straits Times that a place in the top 10 is not beyond Yeo and Loh.

He said: “Both players have the ability to reach the top 10, but the challenge is tough and it’s such a high level. They need to be able to consistently perform match after match and have the physical robustness to do that.

“They have identified development goals, and are working hard on all areas of their games.

“Both Jia Min and Kean Yew are showing the level of performances they are capable of. Their performances at these current European tournaments have been strong, showing some real development since the Tokyo Olympics.

“They are also showing some really good match intelligence against high-level opponents which stands them in good stead as we move forward and continue building.

“They have had good discussions with the coaches since the Olympics and have a strong focus on doing well in the next two to three years and delivering high-level performances at Paris 2024.”

Meanwhile at the Hungarian International, a US$5,000 International Series event, Singapore’s world No. 147 Jason Teh continued his rise as he came from behind to beat Sri Lanka’s world No. 337 Buwaneka Goonethilleka 16-21, 21-17, 21-18 on Friday to set up a quarter-final meeting with India’s world No. 235 Meiraba Luwang Maisnam later in the day.

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