Kento Momota beats Lee Chong Wei to face Chen Long in Asia Championships final

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Lee Chong Wei takes on Kento Momota in the 2018 Asia Championships semi-final. (photo: AFP)
Lee Chong Wei takes on Kento Momota in the 2018 Asia Championships semi-final. (photo: AFP)

Wuhan: Unseeded Kento Momota of Japan defeated his third straight World’s top 10 player on Saturday as he needed 55 minutes to rout No. 5 seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia 21-19, 21-14 and booked his first Asian Championships final.

Lee was leading 19-16 in the first set, before Momota reeled off 5 consecutive points to take the game 21-19. The Malaysian was also leading at 7-5 in the second set before allowing Momota to score 8 straight points to trail at 7-13. Momota then quickly rolled to 18-10 before winning the second game 21-14.

Lee Chong Wei takes on Kento Momota in the 2018 Asia Championships semi-final. (photo: AFP)
Lee Chong Wei takes on Kento Momota in the 2018 Asia Championships semi-final. (photo: AFP)

“This was my second time playing against Momota, he played really well today,” praised Lee Chong Wei.

“I was leading at 19-16 in the first set, but it’s very unfortunate that I lost points so quickly after that. Momota played the net exceptionally well and his speed was faster than mine,” added Lee.

“I thought he was a good overall player before his suspension. This was the highest level of competition he had ever played after his suspension was lifted. I’ve told reporter in Denmark last year that Momota and Viktor Axelsen were going to be the main badminton rival in the future.”

Momota will meet defending champion Chen Long of China on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Chen Long wrapped up the first game against HS Prannoy of India 21-16. Chen Long secured the crucial win in the second game with 21-18 following an epic rally of Prannoy who came from 6-11 to tie the score at 12-12 and had the Chinese scrambling all over the court.

“Both Prannoy and I went through 3-setters yesterday. Although Prannoy was trying to counter attack in the second set, I kept my rhythm and made some adjustments to claim the match” said the 29-year-old Chen Long.

Chen remained calm when talked about facing Kento Momota in the final.

“Kento Momota is a very talented player who has deep understanding of badminton. I’ll have to play harder if I want to beat him in tomorrow’s final,” Chen added.

In women’s singles, China’s Chen Yufei would try her best to avoid going down to Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying for the eighth time in their career meeting when she plays the Taiwanese player in from of home crowd on Sunday.

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