Kowloon: World champion Kento Momota of Japan who won the China Open last Sunday and was trying to add another title to his already-spectacular season, made shock exit in the Hong Kong Open semi-finals on Saturday when he was defeated by No. 6 seed Son Wan-ho of Korea 21-18, 16-21, 19-21.
Son managed to fight off the late surge from Momota in the decider, after the Japanese rallied from 16-19 to level at 19-19, ripping the match away from his World No. 1 opponent to set up a final clash with No. 8 seed Kenta Nishimoto of Japan.
Meanwhile, Nishimoto outlasted Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu 21-18, 21-12 in another men’s semi-final.
After losing the first set to No. 8 seed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 12-21, women’s singles World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan was forced to retire early second set as she suffered a waist injury.
Okuhara will take on No. 6 seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the final.
Intanon, however, had to work hard against Sung Ji Hyun of Korea before overcoming the Korean player 10-21, 21-11, 21-17 in a three-set thriller.
“Today, I was able to pressure Sung on the court. Sometimes, I think mental toughness is more important, because when it wasn’t my game, it would motivate me to try to play well and enjoy the match,” said Intanon.
In the all-Indonesian men’s doubles semi-final, No. 1 seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo had to dig deep in front of the former World champions Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan with a hard-fought 21-14, 18-21, 21-9 victory in 45 minutes.
Gideon/Sukamuljo will play No. 4 seeds Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda of Japan on Sunday.
Last week’s China Open women’s doubles champions and No. 7 seeds Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan earned themselves a chance to exact revenge for their loss in the 2018 Asian Games individual event when they take on No. 1 seeds Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota of Japan in the women’s doubles final on Sunday.