Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew finally barged into the top ten for the first time his career last February, coming in at ninth on his debut appearance.
It was a fitting reward for the reigning world champion, who is now ranked tenth by the BWF, but getting there is no mean feat.
Entering his first senior tournament in 2012, it was not until 2014 where he won his maiden career title at the Singapore International Series and has won six more during his career.
However, it was his giant-killing spree in Huelva that he made his mark. Unseeded, he tore up the form books when he dispatched second-seed, reigning world number one and Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen in the opening round.
From then on, Loh became unstoppable as he swept the rest of his bracket by blanking India’s Srikanth Kidambi to claim the island-nation’s maiden world badminton crown.
Singapore will be leaning on the 24-year-old to deliver the goods in their third Thomas Cup appearance, which was achieved by reaching the semifinals of the Asian Team Championships where he went 3-1 in rubbers.