Whoever would win the men’s single quarterfinal between Daren Liew from Malaysia and Kanta Tsuneyama from Japan, it would be a big surprise in the sense that none of the players were seeded in Nanjing.
Both players had a great opportunity of making history and it was obvious that both wanted to give their absolute best. First game was impossible to predict as Liew and Tsuneyama followed each other very closely. Whenever one was leading with just a few points the other one closed the gap. Finally it was the Malaysian who bagged first game with 22-20.
In second game Liew was off to a speedy start and quickly gained a 6-1 lead but Tsuneyama caught up and the rest of the game was similar to the first; it was extremely close!
Drama entered the court
But at 13-13 drama entered the court as Daren Liew slid on court and hurt his Achilles tendon. From outside it looked very doubtful if he could continue to play and he also received medical attention several minutes. He did play on though but it was obvious he was struggling with the pain and movements. Nevertheless he managed to press the Japanese to the limit and even got three match points. But Tsuneyama prolonged the match when he closed second game on his first game point; 23-21 for the Japanese.
128 points played (record of the day)
The more they played, the better Daren Liew felt – apparently his injury wasn’t that bad after all. In the decisive game he was suddenly much more in control and was leading all the way up to 20-20. He and Tsuneyama were playing for medals and it was the third consecutive game with such a high scoring. It could almost not be more interesting to watch, so how were the players feeling on court?!
On his fourth match point in this third game, the no. 39 ranked in the world could throw himself on the court in big joy for what he had just done: Daren Liew won 22-20 and secured himself his first ever World Championship medal at the age of 30. Big drama and an extremely close match in that lasted no less than 80 minutes.
Positive record against Momota
Sai Praneeth B. from India, unseeded and ranked 26 in the world, is one of few players who has a positive record against Kento Momota from Japan. In two matches he has collected two victories – it is relevant to say though that both matches were played more than five years ago.
Today was a very different story though. Momota is a different player today and it’s no wonder that he is favorite to claim the title in Nanjing, despite a few bumps on the way during the week. Sai Praneeth had no chances today in a match that finished 21-12 21-12 for the Japanese who hereby is sure to get his second World Championship medal after winning bronze in 2015.
You can see all results from today’s matches here