Kento Momota beats Lin Dan to reaffirm his new superstar status

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Kento Momota greets Lin Dan (R) before their first round China Open match. (photo: AFP)
Kento Momota greets Lin Dan (R) before their first round China Open match. (photo: AFP)

Changzhou: It was tough watching badminton’s greatest men’s singles player of all-time, Lin Dan, got defeated by current World No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan in an eagerly anticipated clash at the China Open on Tuesday.

Ever since the draw was published, all eyes have been on the battle between the badminton legend, Lin Dan, who has dominated the men’s singles department since early 2000’s and the current badminton superstar, reigning world champion Kento Momota.

The first round match was a one-sided affair, as Lin found no answers to Momota’s speed and attacks, going down 14-21, 14-21 in 49 minutes.

After the match, Lin told reporters that it’s going to be tough for him to qualify for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“I don’t think there is any shortcut for me to qualify for Tokyo Olympics, the best way and the most effective way is to get good ranking and qualify on merit,” said Lin.

“I think I made a lot of preparations for today’s match. But I did not play well when I was on the court. I’ll go back and watch the videos with my coach,” added Lin.

“I was still doing pretty good early in the second game, but I was a little low in stamina at the end of second set, while Momota was very patient and forced me to make mistakes.”

This was Momota’s fourth consecutive win against the two-time Olympic gold medalist Lin Dan, and he will face Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia in the second round.

In another men’s singles first round match, driven on by noisy support on Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium, Rio Olympic champion Chen Long survived a three-set battle to defeat Malaysian player Lee Zii Jia 21-16, 12-21, 23-21 to advance to the second round. Chen will meet Wang Tzu Wei of Taiwan in the second round.

Malaysia’s Daren Liew also advanced to the second round facing Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan next. Tsuneyama pulled off an upset to down No. 6 seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 10-21, 21-14, 21-16.

In men’s doubles, Malaysia’s Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong outlasted Jelle Maas/Robin Tabeling of Netherlands 21-6, 21-9 to meet Mathias Boe/Mads Conrad-Petersen of Denmark on Thursday.

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