Kento Momota Makes A Triumphant Return By Winning Korea Masters

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The Korea Masters witnessed a strong comeback from Kento Momota. (photo: BWF)
The Korea Masters witnessed a strong comeback from Kento Momota. (photo: BWF)

Gwangju: Former world champion Kento Momota has staged an impressive comeback, securing a victory at the 2023 Korea Masters, marking his first triumph since winning the 2021 Indonesia Masters.

In the men’s singles final of the Korea Masters, Kento Momota of Japan presently ranked 52nd in the global rankings, emerged victorious against his compatriot Koki Watanabe, who holds the world No. 26 spot, securing scores of 21-16, 21-15. This win marked Momota’s comeback to the BWF World Tour title after an absence of 721 days.

Highlights of Kento Momota vs. Koki Watanabe in the 2023 Korea Masters final:

At the age of 29, Momota, once reigning as the world’s top player in 2019 with an impressive 11 BWF World Tour titles, experienced a downturn in form following a car accident in January 2020. His 2023 season began with three consecutive first-round exits, and despite reaching the semi-finals of the 2023 German Open, he faced early eliminations in the subsequent four tournaments. Momota’s resurgence in the Korea Masters, highlighted by his victory over China’s Lei Lanxi in the semi-finals with scores of 21-10, and 21-19, is truly uplifting. This marked his first appearance in a final in 16 months since the Malaysian Open in July of the previous year.

In the first set of Sunday’s final, Momota exhibited resilience, scoring four consecutive points to lead 8-7. Despite early challenges, he capitalized on Watanabe’s mistakes at the net, seizing the opportunity and took the first game 21-16.

In the second game, Momota displayed outstanding control over the shuttle and demonstrated remarkable defensive skills, commanding a significant lead at one juncture with a score of 17-5. Despite Watanabe’s attempts at a comeback, narrowing the score to 12-18, Momota retained control and secured the victory. However, despite this triumph, Momota, facing a current low world ranking, Momota has to start from the qualifying round when he competes at the 2023 Japan Masters which will take place in Kumamoto from Nov 14, 2023 to Nov 19, 2023.

In men’s doubles, Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-Huei/Yang Po-Hsuan secured their long-awaited first BWF World Tour title after 1,701 days, defeating compatriots Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin with scores of 21-17, 21-19. Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin, ranked 11th globally, finished two runners-up in two weeks after losing to Liu Yu Chen/Ou Xuan Yi of China 22-24, 13-21 in last week’s 2023 HYLO Open final.

In the mixed doubles final, the local duo Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yu Jung successfully retained their title, defeating China’s Jiang Zhen Bang/Wei Ya Xin with scores of 21-14, and 21-15. Currently holding the 4th position globally, Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yu Jung secured their third championship of the season, breaking a three-game losing streak against Jiang Zhenbang/Wei Yaxin.

In the women’s singles final, local player Kim Ga Eun faced a more challenging match than anticipated against the 17-year-old Tomoka Miyazaki of Japan. Kim emerged victorious with a scoreline of 19-21, 21-17, 21-12, marking her first BWF World Tour title since 2019.

The Korean team secured its third title of the day in the women’s doubles final, as Jeong Na Eun/Kim Hye Jeong outlasted Rui Hirokami/Yuna Kato of Japan with scores of 21-12, 21-19.

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