Paris: The 2018 season might not be perfect for Rio Olympic champion Chen Long of China, but it looked like his mojo was coming back nicely when he stormed past reigning World Champion and World No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan 21-18, 21-8 in the French Open semi-finals on Saturday.
To be fair, Momota was not playing at his usual form as he was slow in movement, hitting a lot of out of bound shots, seemed tired and kept giving the same baseline shot at Chen’s right side at the end of second set, with Chen Long each time responded by killing the shot with a cross court smash.
Chen said Momota seemed exhausted in the semi-final.
“I can feel Momota was tired especially after winning the Denmark Open last Sunday. This was his ninth match in two weeks. I was able to beat him because I played patiently,” said Chen Long.
Chen will set up an all-Chinese final with compatriots Shi Yuqi in the final.
The No. 2 seed Shi Yuqi was engaged in several long rallies with Rasmus Gemke of Denmark before winning the first set 21-11. Shi then continued to dominate in the second set to wrap up the game 21-16 in 47 minutes.
“There were a lot of long rallies, fortunately I was able to stay focused all the way to the end,” said Shi.
In women’s singles, World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan extended her unbeaten streak against World No. 5 Chen Yufei of China to 11 matches, when the Taiwanese player beat Chen Yufei 18-21, 21-12, 21-14 and will meet World No. 3 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the final.
However, it’s going to be a little tricky for World No. 1 men’s doubles pair Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia in the final as they will face China’s young pair Han Chengkai/Zhou Haodong. Hen/Zhou had defeated the Indonesian pair in the semi-final of China Open that was held in Changzhou in September.
Meanwhile, the unseeded sister pair from Bulgaria, Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva have advanced into the French Open final on Saturday to set up an exciting title match against No. 5 seeds Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara of Japan.