Kento Momota is back with a bang after the Japanese captured the Korea Masters men’s singles title after a straight game victory over compatriot Koki Watanabe for his first international success in two years.
The 29-year-old, who has dropped to 52 on the world rankings, dominated the final against Watanabe to secure a 21-16, 21-15 victory at the Gwangju Women’s University Stadium.
The two-time world champion showed off plenty of the traits which made him an unstoppable force several years ago, which included some great shot selections and a sturdy defence that Watanabe struggled to breach.
Momota could have sealed the second game with a more comfortable scoreline as he led 17-5 at one stage, but to his credit a resilient Watanabe did not give up so easily.
Victory was finally clinched and the left-hander raised both fists with a huge smile in celebration.
Even Watanabe looked happy for his national team-mate, clasping both Momota’s fists in a sign of respect after the match.
The victory is Momota’s first on the World Tour since he won the 2021 Indonesia Masters title, and also his 16th title on the circuit.
Momota’s last title came at the domestic front when he won the All-Japan Championships almost a year ago.
Due to his lowly world ranking, Momota will next play at the Kumamoto Masters qualifiers in Japan where he is scheduled to face Indonesian Shesar Hiren Rhustavito.
Other results saw South Korea win three titles on home soil.
Seo Seung-jae-Chae Yu-jung won the mixed doubles title with a 21-14, 21-15 victory over Jiang Zhen Bang-Wei Ya Xin, while top seeded Kim Ga-eun overcame Tomoka Miyazaki 19-21, 21-17, 21-12.
The women’s doubles saw Jeong Na-eun-Kim Hye-jeong oust Japanese pair Rui Hirokami-Yuna Kato 21-12, 21-19.