Tokyo: Kento Momota was at his imperious best to dismiss the challenge of Yuushi Tanaka in straight sets on Saturday to reach the final of the All-Japan Championships.
Momota will battle World No. 11 Kanta Tsuneyama for the title after his 21-16, 21-16 semi-final victory at the Machida City General Gymnasium.
“Every time I win, I feel like I’m getting stronger. I was a little worried and nervous at the beginning of the tournament, but I started to enjoy the matches gradually,” said Momota.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been competing in a tournament a few days in a row,” added Momota.
“I will do my best with all my concentration in the final,” said Momota who is eyeing his third All-Japan men’s singles title.
Meanwhile, Japan’s head coach Park Joo Bong briefed Japanese media about Momota’s condition as the 26-year-old returned to actual competition for the first time in 346 days after being injured in a fatal car accident.
“Kento was slow in the first game in the quarter-final match, but he increased his tempo in the second and third game to pull off the victory,” said Park who was referring to Momota’s first game loss to Hashiru Shimono in the quarter-final.
“The international tournaments are scheduled to kick off in January, he must be faster than right now,” explained Park.
“We are planning to leave for the tournaments in Thailand from the 3rd of next month. I want to make sure our shuttlers could use All-Japan to regain their momentum,” continued Park.
In the women’s competition, World No. 3 Akane Yamaguchi will take on Nozomi Okuhara in the final.