Kento Momota Wins 80-minute Fight Against Kanta Tsuneyama in All-Japan Championships Final

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Kento Momota greets Kanta Tsuneyama after the final. (photo: nikkansports)
Kento Momota greets Kanta Tsuneyama after the final. (photo: nikkansports)

Tokyo: Japan’s World No. 1 Kento Momota and World No. 11 Kanta Tsuneyama battled it out for 1 hour and 20 minutes at the Machida City General Gymnasium with Momota edging Tsuneyama 18-21, 21-12, 21-17 to claim his third All-Japan men’s singles title on Sunday.

“I was a little impatient and wanted to score quick points at the end of the first game. However, after losing the first game, I stayed calm, scoring one point at a time to win the match,” said Momota.

Kento Momota with the huge All-Japan Championships trophy. (photo: nikkansports)
Kento Momota with the huge All-Japan Championships trophy. (photo: nikkansports)

Momota demonstrated his superior stamina to endure fierce resilience from Tsuneyama. This was also one of his main focuses after the traffic accident in January this year that killed the shuttle driver.

“I am relieved, but I am not really satisfied with my performance today. I noticed Tsuneyama was tired at the end of the decider too, and fortunately, I could still move,” added Momota.

The 26-year-old World No. 1 then wearing Tsuneyama down by hitting the shuttlecocks to four corners of Tsuneyama’s side.

“At the end, I could hardly run. He has better stamina than mine,” admitted Tsuneyama.

Although Momota was able to win the All-Japan title, he was clearly still facing some challenges compared to his best form.

“I still not able to play to the level of how I was playing before, and I am not confident in the accuracy of some of my shots. But, I am sure I will get there gradually,” explained Momota.

“I feel like I’m currently only about 40% to 50% of my best.”

This tournament was Momota’s first return to real competition in 11 months after the fatal traffic accident in January.

“Many things had happened to me in 2020. In January, I was involved in a tragic traffic accident that killed the driver of a shuttle I took in Malaysia. In February, I was diagnosed with a broken right eye socket. And after my eye surgery, all tournaments were either canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The 2021 season will kick off with the Thai Open in January of next year. I am looking forward to playing against overseas players.”

Here other finals results of the 2020 All-Japan Championships:
Women’s Singles: Nozomi Okuhara bt Akane Yamaguchi 17-24, 21-14, 22-20
Men’s Doubles: Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe bt Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi 21-19, 21-9
Women’s Doubles: Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota bt Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara 21-17, 21-12
Mixed Doubles: Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino bt Yuki Kaneko/Misaki Matsutomo 21-11, 21-9

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