Loh Kean Yew, Jonatan Christie, Naraoka Kodai Progress to BWF French Open Last 16

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The 2021 badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew is through to the round of 16 at the BWF French Open 2023 after defeating home hope Christo Popov on Tuesday (24 October).

Loh, who is unseeded in Rennes by virtue of having dropped out of the world’s top eight, beat Popov 21–11 21–18 in straight games, taking 42 minutes to dispatch his French opponent.

The opening game was a one-sided affair, with Loh winning the last seven points from 14–11. Popov managed to edge in front briefly in the second game, but Loh managed to string together six points in a row to re-take the lead he would not give up.

It means the Singaporean faces a likely second-round match against his good friend, the Olympic champion and world number one Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, who plays Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong China on Wednesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, third seed Naraoka Kodai and fifth seed Jonatan Christie each recorded straight-games victories of their own to move on to the last 16.

Naraoka beat Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21–11 21–12, while Christie beat Naraoka’s fellow Japanese Nishimoto Kenta 21–11 21–19. The two seeds are in the same quarter and could face each other in the last eight.

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