Kuala Lumpur: Lee Chong Wei has become the first man to claim 12 Malaysia Open men’s singles titles after narrowly beaten Kento Momota who was riding on a 21-match winning streak before Sunday.
The final was a tremendous match with seesaw battle, as Lee coolly worked his way past Momota with an aggressive display to take the first set 21-17.
Nevertheless, the crowd went silent momentarily as Momota clawed back from 6-13 which eventually saw the Japanese holding the game point in the second set 20-19. The match took another thrilling turn when Lee regrouped himself, started his attacks in a much steeper angle towards Momota’s baseline. After Momota hit an out of bound shot at match point, Lee was about to fall his knees for celebration before the shot was called “in” by the line judge. Lee immediately challenged the call and he was right, Hawkeye showed the shuttlecock was “out”. The whole stadium suddenly erupted in cheer with Lee Chong Wei winning the second set 23-21.
“Staying consistent to win 12 Malaysia Open had not been easy especially this time around where there are a lot of rising young talents coming here to play their best. I am hoping to continue my momentum in several upcoming championships such as the Indonesia Open, World Championship and the Asian Games,” said Lee.
“Playing Momota was difficult as I have lost to him before. I was trying to stay focus and score one point at a time,” added Lee.
Meanwhile, Momota was full of praise for Lee:” Although he is 12 to 13 years older than me, he is still a top player and still dominates the sport.”
Despite failing to capture the men’s singles title, the Japanese camp actually enjoyed a great day, by taking home the men’s doubles and women’s doubles titles.
In the all Japanese men’s doubles final, No. 6 seeds Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda demolished unseeded Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe 21-8, 21-10 while Rio Olympic champion and No. 5 seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi exacted revenge for their 2017 World Championship semi-final loss to China’s No. 1 Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan. This time, the Japanese pair walked away with the women’s doubles title in style with a resounding 21-12, 21-12 victory over the Chinese pair.