Guangzhou: Despite beating World No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan in straight sets to win the BWF World Tour Finals at 22 years old, China’s Shi Yuqi knew keeping pace with the Japanese wasn’t as easy as it looked.
“This wasn’t an easy match as indicated by the score. We played more shots per every point scored and we were both very tired at the end of the match.” said Shi.
“I think Kento Momota was able to bring his normal game today. But since he is the World No. 1 men’s singles player, everyone has been studying him. Perhaps I was playing a little better in this game.”
“I lost to him three times before today because I was not familiar with his playing style, and that brought a lot of pressure on me. But today, I was determined to attack and break his rhythm whenever I could.”
As Shi Yuqi mentioned, he attacked fiercely and was able to dictate the pace of the final. Shi eventually beat Momota 21-12, 21-11 in 49 minutes.
Meanwhile, Momota also acknowledged that Shi was playing better than him on Sunday.
“At the World Championships he wasn’t reacting so fast at the net. My opponents have been studying my style. Maybe he was better prepared,” said Momota.
In the women’s singles final, India’s PV. Sindhu screamed and sunk to her knees when she exacted sweet revenge of her defeat to Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the 2017 World Championships final in Glasgow, beating the Japanese 21-19, 21-17 to win her first title BWF Finals title.
“I’m really proud of myself to be able to finish the year on a high note. People have been asking me the same question, asking why I always lose in the final. I think the question won’t come again,” said the emotional Sindhu.
The 23-year-old Japanese who has recently been hobbled by shoulder and knee injuries, admitted she wasn’t at her best.
“The accuracy of my shots was way too poor. I could never get the initiative,” said Okuhara.
The Japanese camp also suffered another defeat on Sunday when Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe were sent packing by Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen of China 15-21, 11-21 in the men’s doubles final.
With the disappointments of Kento Momota, Nozomi Okuhara, and Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe, Japan’s only triumph of the day came in the women’s doubles final, where Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi overcame Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan of Korea 21-12, 22-20 to claim the women’s doubles crown.
In the all-Chinese mixed doubles final, Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping who recorded a 0-7 career meeting record against World No. 1 Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong, finally broke their jinx by beating Zheng/Huang 23-21, 16-21, 21-18 to seal the title in their favor.
The 2018 BWF World Tour Finals was the final tournament of the 2018 BWF World Tour. It was held from December 12 to December 16, 2018 in Tianhe, Guangzhou, China, and offered a total prize of $1,500,000.