INDONESIA OPEN 2018 SF – Momota’s successful revenge

Kento Momota advanced in the Indonesia Open, succeeding in ensuring himself of a second straight top-tier final. Story: Naomi Indartiningrum and Sulistianing Ambarwati, Badzine Correspondents live in Jakarta Photos: Yves […]

advanced in the , succeeding in ensuring himself of a second straight top-tier final.

Story: Naomi Indartiningrum and Sulistianing Ambarwati, Badzine Correspondents live in Jakarta
Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

Just six days earlier, Japan’s Kento Momota was defeated by Lee Chong Wei (pictured right) in the final of the Malaysia Open Super 750.  This time, the world #8 managed to avenge his defeat from last week and book his spot in another final.  This time, he has a shot at big slice of the richest badminton tournament in history, the US$1.25 million Indonesia Open .

Momota dashed Lee Chong Wei’s hopes of winning titles in two consecutive weeks in the semi-finals as he lost the upper hand at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta.  Lee actually had a chance to win the first game when he took the lead at 11-5.  After the interval, Momota managed to come back and tried to attack more, managing to claw his way back to 17-all.

The 2015 champion was the first  to reach game point, at 20-19 but unfortunately, Momota’s smash went out of the court and he was forced to continue into extra points. Even so, Momota still managed to win the first game 23-21.

Momota appear much more confident in the second game. He led all the way to 17-6.  Not wanting to waste the chance, he kept attacking Lee Chong Wei, as the 35-year-old began to look tired on the court.  In the end, the six-time winner from Malaysia was unable to return Momota’s smash and it was a decisive 21-12 winning score for Momota to ensure a ticket to the final.

“I tried my best today,” said Lee Chong Wei after the match.  “I had a good time in the first game but today Momota’s defense was very strong and he was able to control better.  He is also faster while I seem to be a little tired.

“The difference with last week is today he played more aggressively and faster.  He is very consistent,” Lee added.

“Today’s match was very tough but it’s nice to win because I was able to play patiently,” said Momota.

“Lee Chong Wei has an incredible attack. At the start of the first game, I wanted to play defensively but the I got left behind with quite a big gap.  After that, I tried to start attacking until I could get the score back to the same level,” he added.

With this victory, Kento Momota (pictured right) will meet another tough opponent Viktor Axelsen in Sunday’s final.

“My opponent tomorrow is a player with strong attack and defense. Therefore I need to prepare the best.  Currently, I want to rest first to restore my stamina,” said Momota.

Three years ago, Momota was the champion in the same event. This year, will he reclaim the title?

#1 Danish star ready for final round

It was earlier in the evening, after successfully cheering on two major upsets, in mixed doubles and men’s doubles, that Indonesian fans kept up their exuberant support for the epic performance of Shi Yuqi and Viktor Axelsen (pictured).

It went to three games but only the opening game was particularly tight between two top contenders, World Champion Viktor Axelsen and All England winner Shi Yuqi.  Before the score reached 18-all, neither player could get a lead of more than one point. An unprecedented string of two for Shi Yuqi finally gave him the lead at 20-18. The supporters raised their voices to support both players.  A net kill shot to return the shuttle from Axelsen then finally made the first game Shi’s.

Starting the second game, the Olympic bronze medallist took control from Shi.  Axelsen then got the game point by an attacking smash and ended the game 21-14 putting his shot beyond Shi Yuqi’s reach.

Shi Yuqi (pictured right) said afterward that he felt pressure from the very quick game by Axelsen: “Axelsen changed his strategy in the second game and unfortunately I could not adjust to his style of game,” explained the All England champion.  “Axelsen played very fast in the last two games, additionally I could not control the wind and it made me lose many points.”

“I think Shi Yuqi has been playing very well for a long time until now,” commented Axelsen after dominating the deciding game 21-11.  “He is also a consistent player.”

Being the only one Dane who advanced to semi-final round, Axelsen was happy to reach the final for Sunday: “After getting injured and not playing the All England, I am proud of myself that I am able to win the semi-final and go to final,” he added.

Finals line-up
WS:  Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) [1] vs. Chen Yufei (CHN) [5]
WD:  Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota (JPN) [2] vs. Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara (JPN)
MS:  Viktor Axelsen (DEN) [1] vs. Kento Momota (JPN)
XD:  Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (INA) [1] vs. Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying (MAS)
MD:  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) [1] vs. Takuto Inoue / Yuki Kaneko (JPN) [7]

Click here for complete semi-final results

Naomi Indartiningrum

About Naomi Indartiningrum

Naomi began as a Badzine Correspondent in 2015, while still a Business Management student living in Jakarta. A badminton enthusiast since 2007, she mostly spends her spare time writing about local badminton events and also maintaining one of largest badminton twitter accounts in Indonesia.