Photo credit: Tang Shi
After his comeback to the badminton circuit, Japan’s Kento Momota has been absolutely outstanding. With three titles including the Asian Championships and a win-loss of 32-3 in 2018 so far, the Japanese was a big challenge for China’s hope in men’s single, 22-year old Shi Yuqi.
The two shuttlers only have one encounter from before and that is from the Asian Championships in April where Kento Momota won in three games on his way to the title. Shi Yuqi surely was hungry for revenge; not only for the revenge itself but probably more because he was standing in the World Championship final in front of his home crowd.
It was a very interesting start where both players used a few rallies to see where they had each other. Momota was the one to always bring himself a little ahead but Shi Yuqi kept on closing the gap again and again. At 13-11 the Japanese turbo removed all doubt from first game though. Momota won the game by taking 8 consecutive points; 21-11 for the favorite.
Playing against the Japanese wall
Sadly for the final the Chinese was lacking stamina. Shi Yuqi kept on falling few steps behind the Japanese but to his defense we also have to say that Momota was really exceptional today. Even in those rallies where everybody saw the local hero winning the point, Momota managed to return the shuttle even from the most extended positions. What on earth should the Chinese do?
From 5-5 Kento Momota didn’t look back. He outplayed this Chinese opponent completely and safely built onto his lead in his hunt for gold. You could hear on the Chinese spectators that it was game over now. 16-8 for Japan. Shi Yuqi had lost pace and Momota was simply too strong and it didn’t take long time before the Japanese could claim his and Japan’s first men’s single World Championship title ever – a title that only three countries had won before since the first World Championships in 1977!
Congratulations to the new World Champion; Kento Momota from Japan!
Men’s single medals:
Gold: Kento Momota, Japan
Silver: Shi Yuqi, China
Bronze: Chen Long, China
Bronze: Daren Liew, Malaysia
You can see the results of all the semifinals here