Kento Momota to face Shi Yuqi in World Championships final

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Kento Momota (right) beats Daren Liew in the 2018 World Championships semi-final. (photo: AFP)
Kento Momota (right) beats Daren Liew in the 2018 World Championships semi-final. (photo: AFP)

Nanjing: World No. 7 Kento Momota of Japan literally and figuratively ran World No. 39 Daren Liew of Malaysia off his feet on his way to the World Championships final.

The young Japanese player applied relentless firepower, forcing Liew to play defensive badminton across the court, in which Liew’s movement was clearly affected by his right ankle injury he picked in the quarter-finals.

Liew raced to 5-0 in the opening set before Momota slowly caught up to take the first game 21-16. The second set was one-sided, as Momota reeled off to 9-0 and 10-0 scoring feat to seal the win against Liew with 21-5 to enter the World Championships final. The 23-year-old Momota will face Shi Yuqi of China on Sunday.

“I was able to control the pace of the match by playing strong defense,” said Momota.

Liew’s achievement at the 2018 World Championship was one of the best moment of his career. Liew won the 2012 French Open before leaving the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) early 2016 due to his deteriorating performance.

Earlier Saturday, 22-year-old Shi Yuqi taught two-time World Champion Chen Long a lesson with a comfortable 21-11, 21-17 victory to advance to the final.

Momota and Shi had only met once in their young career, where Momota overcame Shi in the 2018 Badminton Asia Championships second round with 21-15, 12-21, 21-12.

Meanwhile, Japanese pair Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda defeated Taiwan’s Chen Hung Ling and Wang Chi-Lin 21-17, 21-10 to set up a men’s doubles showdown with No. 4 seeds Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen in the final.

Li/Liu eased past compatriots and defending champions Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan 21-15, 21-13 to cruise into the final.

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