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Daihatsu YONEX Japan Open 2018 — Kento Momota rolls on into the finals

Date
17 September 2018

Tokyo — There’s not been much that can stand in the way of Kento Momota (JPN) this year, and that continues to be the case at the Daihatsu YONEX Japan Open 2018. After knocking off Lin Dan (CHN) in the quarter finals, he toppled another superstar in the form of World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen (DEN) in the semi-finals.

Prior to this meeting, Momota and Axelsen had faced off on ten occasions, with eight going Momota’s way. This time wasn’t to be any different. While the matchup initially provided all the drama and excitement one would expect in the first game, with a tight score and multiple lead changes, after Momota sealed it 21-18, he seemed to reach a different gear and just widened the difference, winning the second 21-11. Axelsen certainly came to play and was a joy to watch but Momota again played a game that no one seems to have answers for. Also in men's singles, unseeded Khosit Phetpradab (THA) shocked the number 6 seed, Chen Long (CHN), in straight games in the quarter finals, and then defeated Lee Dong Keun of Korea, also in straight games (21-12, 21-26) to book his spot in the final against Momota. 

In women’s singles, Carolina Marin (ESP) brought her signature energy and pace to her meeting with China’s Chen Yufei. Marin pulled ahead and stayed there in both games, needing just 39 minutes (21-12, 21-13) to secure her spot in tomorrow’s final where she will face Nozomi Okuhara of Japan.

In what was unsurprisingly the fastest paced match of the day, Marcus F Gideon and Kevin S Sukamuljo (IND) faced He Jiting and Tan Qiang (CHN) in men’s doubles. Gideon and Sukamuljo once again saw a one-game lead evaporate as they seemed to take their foot off the gas in the second. But they clearly rallied in the third, and the crowd chanted and cheered along to their lightning-fast racquet play and leaping smashes, as they went on to win 21-16, 14-21, 21-13.

In women’s doubles, the world No. 1 pair of Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota bested fellow Team Yonex pair Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu (INA). While Fukushima and Hirota settled the first game fairly quickly, Polii and Rahayu did their best to make a stand in the second, with rallies going upwards of 200 shots(!). But Fukushima and Hirota returned nearly everything that came their way, letting their opponents blink first, winning 21-12, 21-18 after one hour and nine minutes.

For full match details, go here.


Kento Momota
ASTROX 99AEROBITEPOWER CUSHION 65 Z MEN

Khosit Phetpradab: NANORAY Z-SPEEDPOWER CUSHION 65 Z MEN

Carolina MarinDUORA Z-STRIKEAEROBITEAERUS 3

Marcus F. GideonASTROX 88 DBG65 TITANIUMAERUS 3

Kevin S. SukamuljoASTROX 88 SBG80AERUS 3

Yuki Fukushima: ASTROX 88 SBG80POWER CUSHION 65 Z LADIES 

Sayaka Hirota: ASTROX 88 SNANOGY95POWER CUSHION 65 Z LADIES 

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