Giant killer – Kento Momota sets sights on semi-final clash with Lee Chong Wei at Asia Championships

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Kento Momota is making an impressive return to top-tier badminton. (photo: AP)
Kento Momota is making an impressive return to top-tier badminton. (photo: AP)

Wuhan: Unseeded Kento Momota made a storming run to the Asia Championships’ semi-final, when the former World No. 2 eliminated Taiwan’s No. 7 seed Chou Tien Chen 21-5, 21-13 on Friday.

Momota scalped two seeded players before reaching Saturday’s semifinals. In the quarter-final, he upset fourth seed and reigning All England champion Shi Yuqi of China 21-15, 12-21, 21-12 in 67 minutes before ousted Chou on Friday.

Now, with nothing to lose, he seemed determined to wreck No. 5 seed Lee Chong Wei’s aspirations of winning his third Asia Championships title in the semi-final.

The Malaysian badminton superstar Lee Chong Wei, on the other hand, defeated No. 1 seed Kidambi Srikanth of India in a surprisingly easy match. Lee needed only 32 minutes to ease past the Indian shuttler 21-12, 21-15.

Lee, who beat Srikanth in the Commonwealth Games men’s singles gold medal match two weeks ago admitted he did not expect such an easy victory for him.

“I was expecting this to be my toughest game here, therefore, I’ve made the best preparation I could because Srikanth had given me a strong fight at Commonwealth Games before I managed to win gold,” said Lee.

“Now, I’m in the semi-final, I am going to continue to enjoy the game and stay focused,” added Lee.

Lee however remained cautious when speaking about his semi-final opponent – Kento Momota.

“I have not play against Momota for a long time, it’s good to see him back.”

“Momota has a bright future, I’m going to make the best preparation against Momota and hopefully play a good game on Saturday.”

Malaysia’s men’s doubles pair of Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong couldn’t progress to the next round after losing to No. 3 seeds Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda of Japan 18-21, 17-21 in 41 minutes.

In the women’s singles competition, No. 1 seed Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan produced an exceptional performance by overcoming local player He Bingjiao 21-14, 21-9 to set a semifinal against India’s Saina Nehwal, who knocked out Lee Jang Mi of South Korea 21-15, 21-13 in the other quarter-finals.

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