Kento Momota Triumphs: A 141-Minute Battle Against Rasmus Gemke in Japan Masters Second Round

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Kento Momota's formidable resilience has secured his spot in the Japan Masters quarter-finals.
Kento Momota's formidable resilience has secured his spot in the Japan Masters quarter-finals.

Kumamoto: Kento Momota showcased remarkable resilience in an intense battle that spanned 141 minutes, ultimately securing victory over Rasmus Gemke in the second round of the Japan Masters.

The 29-year-old Japanese player, currently ranked world No. 41, faced a challenging first game, trailing for most of it. At 17-19, Momota staged an impressive comeback, securing four consecutive points to claim the first game with a score of 21-19.

Highlights of Kento Momota vs. Rasmus Gemke in the 2023 Japan Masters second round:

The second game saw Momota rallying from 17-19, leveling the score at 19-19. However, Gemke, determined not to concede, scored two consecutive points, forcing a decider.

In the decisive third set, Momota initially struggled with physical fatigue and slow footwork, falling behind 8-14. Taking advantage of Gemke’s loss of focus, Momota rallied, claiming seven consecutive points to surge ahead and win the third set 21-16.

In a post-match interview with “BWF,” Momota revealed that Gemke aimed to engage in long rallies and capitalize on powerful smashes. Momota adjusted his strategy, focusing on baseline shots along with strong net control. “My strategy works very well.”

“Today I have to deal with Gemke’s strong smashes. I know if I am able to defense his shots, I should be okay,” said Momota.

Looking ahead, Momota is set to face the fourth seed from China, Shi Yuqi, in the quarter-finals. The two players have met 11 times in their careers, with Momota winning six times.

In other men’s singles action, No. 1 seed Viktor Axelsen faced a tough challenge from Ng Tze Yong, ultimately triumphing with a score of 20-22, 21-11, 21-18. Axelsen is slated to compete against Jonatan Christie of Indonesia in the next round.

Despite the setback for Malaysia’s men’s pair Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik, who lost to Akira Koga/Taichi Saito of Japan, Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi advanced to the top 8. Ong/Teo are scheduled to meet Lee Fang-Chih/Lee Fang-Jen of Chinese Taipei in the quarter-finals.

Malaysia boasts three more doubles pairs in the top 8, with exciting matchups anticipated in mixed doubles and women’s doubles. In mixed doubles, Chen Tang Jie/Toh Ee Wei will play Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong of China, and Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing will meet Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino. In women’s doubles, Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan are set to fight Rena Miyaura/Ayako Sakuramoto for a spot in the semi-finals.

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