Kento Momota Shows Resilience To Battle Past Shi Yuqi In German Open 1st Round

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Kento Momota seems to get his mojo back. (photo: AFP)
Kento Momota seems to get his mojo back. (photo: AFP)

Mulheim: After a protracted slump that had many questioning what was going on with him, former World No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan battled, clawed, and eventually scraped his way through a first-round match with a straight-sets victory over China’s World No. 13 Shi Yuqi. The current World No. 23 Japanese was playing with quick speed and strong confidence and looked determined to slowly reclaim his status as the best men’s singles player in the world.

There were flashes of magic shots from Momota in Wednesday’s two-set first-round victory especially when he was leading at 13-9 in the second set, Shi attempted a quick kill at net, but Momota immediately extended his racket up in the air to block Shi’s shot, and the shuttlecock hit Momota’s racket, bounced back to Shi’s side, and landed inbound to give Momota his 14th point.

Watch the magic return by Kento Momota:

“I lost to Shi in the first round of Indonesia Masters in January easily, and today, I was trying to return every shot and to score every point possible,” said Momota.

When asked about whether the German Open is an important tournament for him to build momentum before next week’s All-England, Momota cited he didn’t think too much about the All-England.

“I am not thinking about All England, I am just concentrating on this tournament, and trying to win one match at a time,” added Momota.

Momota will play World No. 29 Brian Yang of Canada in the second round.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s No. 1 seed Lee Zii Jia also got off to a great start by beating qualifier Magnus Johannesen of Denmark 21-11, 21-5, and will play World No. 49 Lee Chia Hao of Taiwan on Thursday.

In addition to Lee, Malaysia’s World No. 8 men’s pair Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi edged past Lee Yang/Lee Fang-Chih of Taiwan 17-21, 22-20, 21-15 to play another Taiwanese pair Lee Jhe-Huei/Tang Po-Hsuan next.

Malaysia’s Goh Jin Wei and Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan also advanced to both the women’s singles and women’s doubles second round respectively. Goh will meet Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand while Tan/Muralitharan to face Julie Macpherson/Ciara Torrance of Scotland on Thursday.

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