BUKIT JALIL: With his fiery red new hairstyle, Japan’s rising star Kento Momota is ready to take the world by storm.
The 2012 world junior champion from the Kagawa prefecture has been enjoying a stellar rise through the ranks.
Last year, Momota, who turned 20 last Thursday, achieved a career best as he made the semi-finals of the China Open, before losing to China’s Wang Zhengming.
Having risen significantly through the ranks, from No. 89 last January to a current career high of No. 17 in the world, Momota who sports a cool and calm demeanour much like Lin Dan, believes he can only get better.
There are many incentives to spur the young Momota to do well, especially with Japan setting their sights on the Thomas Cup Finals which will be held in New Delhi in May.
Momota is currently the third-ranked Japanese, behind world No. 5 Kenichi Tago and Takuma Ueda who is No. 15.
KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has promised to bounce back stronger at the Malaysian Open after failing to get off to a dream start in the season-opening Korean Open in Seoul.
The 31-year-old shuttler went down 14-21, 15-21 to China’s Chen Long in Sunday’s 56-minute men’s singles final, thus crushing his hopes of winning the Korean Open for the fourth time.
It was Chen Long’s eighth win over Chong Wei in 15 meetings – and his fourth consecutive victory over the Malaysian – in a period of 14 months.
The powerful Chen Long, who is trying to fill in the shoes of five-time world champion Lin Dan, produced an efficient display to give himself an early 25th birthday present.
Chen Long, who turns 25 on Jan 18, accelerated to a 7-0 first-game lead in just six minutes – showcasing his brilliance at the net and superb execution of smashes from the baseline.