Photo credit: Tang Shi
We have reached the last day of the HSBC BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament in Tokyo. The hosts are represented in three finals and the first on the program was men’s single where Kento Momota could make it a perfect start for his country.
The world’s currently best men’s single player, Kento Momota from Japan, could be the first Japanese to win Japan Open in this category. The World Champion hadn’t lost a single game on his way to the final where he had eliminated Lin Dan and three Danes. A fun fact is that Lin Dan had scored the fewest points against the Japanese and the lowest ranked opponent – Rasmus Gemke as number 23 – had scored the most. In the final Momota was up against number 26 in the world.
Only unseeded player in the finals
Khosit Phetpradab from Thailand was the only unseeded player to have reached the finals at Japan Open. He hadn’t lost any games either in his previous four matches and he had eliminated big names like Shi Yuqi and Chen Long on his way. Being in the Japan Open final was already the biggest result for the Thai. If he could win it, it would be no less than amazing.
The two players kicked off their match in a quite expected way. Momota was looking very humble when entering the court. The Thai looked a kind of unimpressed about the big stage and scenario that surrounded him. Phetpradab’s style of play is pretty much to smash hard on every chance he gets. That sometimes pays off and other times it doesn’t.
At mid-game interval in first game Momota was leading 11-8 only due to a few mistakes on smashes from Khosit Phetpradab. The Thai struggled a bit with finding the right length on his shots as well and that was what causes him the most problems during the first game. Eventually Kento Momota bagged the game 21-14 and was half way to the title.
Great local support for Momota
Second game began fairly even as well and looked as if it would develop more or less the same way as first game. The two were even up to 5-5 when Momota pulled away. He set in some solid smashes, which the Thai failed to return and soon it was 8-5 for the local hero. You could hear a rhythmic applause from the Japanese spectators who did everything to help their hero to glory.
Mid-game interval in second game was with the Japanese ahead with two points. Phetpradab did somehow seem to get a grip of the front court, which Momota obviously didn’t like. It was on the front court the Thai scored his points in second game. Still he couldn’t catch up with the local favorite though.
Historical win for the local hero
Momota slowly but steadily worked his way up to taking the victory in straight games. At 17-11 there was no more doubt that he would become the first ever Japanese winner of the men’s single title at Japan Open. The Thai was outplayed in the last rallies of the match and Momota could let himself fall on the floor in humble joy and pride with 21-11 in second game.
With this result Kento Momota cashes in USD 49,000 in prize money and will climb up to the second spot on the next updated world ranking list. And then he has a 3-0 lead head-to-head against Khosit Phetpradab. It was a perfect debut for Momota in the new Musashino Forest Sport Plaza where the Olympics are going to be played in 2020.
Kento Momota vs. Khosit Phetpradab 21-14 21-11
Total point score: 42-25
Total points played: 67
Length of match: 48 min
Average points per minute: 1.40
Average seconds per point: 42.99 sec
Stay tuned! There are more updates from the Japan Open finals on the way…