2023 Indonesia Masters Preview: Kento Momota vs. Shi Yuqi

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Kento Momota is set to play Shi Yuqi in the first round of the 2023 Indonesia Masters on Wednesday. (photo: AFP)
Kento Momota is set to play Shi Yuqi in the first round of the 2023 Indonesia Masters on Wednesday. (photo: AFP)

Jakarta: Former World No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan and former World No. 2 Shi Yuqi of China are set to face off against each other in the first round of the 2023 Indonesia Masters. Although Momota held a 5-3 lead in their career head-to-head meeting, it would be interesting to see if Momota could maintain his superiority over Shi on Wednesday.

In their last meeting in the 2020 Thomas Cup semi-finals on October 16, 2021, after losing to Momota 20-22 in the first game, Shi retired when he was trailing 5-20 in the second game. He made some immature comments after that, and as a result of his behavior, he was suspended by the Chinese Badminton Association from participating in all international tournaments for about 10 months.

Also on Wednesday’s card is a Kodai Naraoka vs. Lakshya Sen showdown. Naraoka who held a 3-1 head-to-head advantage over Sen and was playing exceptionally well at the 2023 Malaysia Open two weeks ago, is hoping to continue his strong performance in Jakarta.

After the 2023 Malaysia Open champion – Viktor Axelsen, and last week’s India Open champion – Kunlavut Vitidsarn have pulled out of the Indonesia Masters, the men’s singles category looks wide-open. Players such as Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, Lee Zii Jia, Chou Tien Chen, Loh Kean Yew, Kento Momota, Shi Yuqi, and Kodai Naraoka have a strong chance of contending for the title.

In men’s doubles, Malaysia reigning World Champions Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik who raised to their highest career rankings at World No. 2 on Tuesday, will open against compatriots and World No. 52 Boon Xin Yuan/Wong Tien Ci. Chia/Soh who are continuing their mission of winning their first-ever BWF World Tour title will likely take on World No. 7 Liang Wei Keng/Wang Chang whom they lost to in the India Open final in the second round on Thursday.

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