Momota too hot to handle for Chong Wei in Wuhan
Japan's Kento Momota is firing on all cylinders and Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei felt the heat in the men's singles semi-finals in the Wuhan City of Automobile Badminton Asia Championships on Saturday.
Confident and with tons of energy in him the 23-year-old Momota carved out a 21-19, 21-14 win 55 minutes - showing that he is the man to beat in Wuhan and a big threat to defending champion Chen Long of China in Sunday's final.
Momota was 16-19 down in the opening game but never looked in danger of losing the semi-final encounter against the former world number from Malaysia who was recently crowned the Commonwealth Games champion in Gold Coast, Australia.
"I have my mission and I am glad that I am on track in Wuhan. I will be playing Chen Long in the final and my win over Chong Wei has got the adrenaline flowing in me," said the unseeded Momota.
For Chong Wei the show goes on. This is the second year running that the 2016 champion had fallen at the last four stage. Last year he was stopped by Lin Dan in the semi-finals.
"I should have won the first game...but it is okay. You win and lose in sports. I will now return home to prepare for the Thomas Cup Finals," said Chong Wei
after his defeat.
The Thomas Cup Finals will be held in Bangkok from May 20-27. Chong Wei is also Malaysia's hope in the Asian Games which will be held in Indonesia.
In the Thomas Cup Finals the Malaysians are drawn in Group D together with defending champions Denmark, Russia and debutants Algeria.
"Momota is a world class player. He is playing very well despite being out of competitive badminton for more than a year. Badminton will see more of him. He is class of his own.
Chen Long was given a tough time by India's H.S. Prannoy in his semi-final match which lasted 52 minutes - 21 - 16, 21 - 18.
"I just made a couple of errors and gave away some four or five points that were crucial," said Prannoy.
"It is a learning process for me in my defeat. I will learn from the mistakes and pick myself up to comeback stronger."
Kento Momota (Jpn) beat Lee Chong Wei (Mas) 21-19, 21-14
Chen Long (Chn) beat H. S. Prannoy (Ind) 21-16, 21-18
Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) beat Liu Cheng-Zhang Nan (Chn) 14-21, 21-12, 25-23
Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (Chn) beat Huang Kaixiang-Wang Yilyu (Chn) 21-17, 14-21, 21-10
Tai Tzu Ying (Tpe) beat Saina Nehwal (Ind) 27-25, 21-19
Chen Yufei (Chn) beat Sung Ji-hyun (Kor) 21-12, 21-13
Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) beat della Destiara Haris-Rizki Amelia Pradipta (Ina) 27-29, 21-17, 21-11
Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn) beat Kim So-yeong-Hee Yong-kong (Jpn) 21-17, 20-22, 21-14
Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (Chn) beat Zhang Nan-Li Yunhui (Chn) 18-21, 21-18, 21-17
Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir (Ina) beat Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) 21-11, 21-13