Kento Momota will be the man to beat at the Indonesia Open, which begins on Tuesday, after the Japanese ended an almost two year title drought by winning the Indonesia Masters men’s singles title courtesy of a 21-17, 21-11 triumph over Anders Antonsen.
Momota was flawless at the Bali trilogy-opening tournament, not dropping a game en route to his first title since the Malaysia Masters in January 2020 when he defeated Antonsen’s team-mate, Viktor Axelsen.
After beating Antonsen, an exhausted Momota said he just wanted to rest well before preparing for the Indonesia Open, which is among the highest ranked events on the World Tour.
“I’ve worked so hard for this. I was just trying to play my best in both games. I didn’t do anything else and I wasn’t rushing my shots. Doing my best got me there in the end.
“I am so exhausted. I just want to rest and do my best in the [Indonesia] Open,” Momota the Badminton World Federation.
Momota begins his upcoming Indonesia Open challenge against India’s Lakshya Sen.
The victory at the Indonesia Masters for the world number one, who saw other rivals including Axelsen and Lee Zii Jia flourish in his absence, had been some time coming.
Momota made the Denmark Open final where he was ousted in three games by Axelsen, before he retired in the semi-finals of the French Open against team-mate Kanta Tsuneyama.
Winning a title was indeed momentous for Momota who endured a lot since the start of last year, from suffering a fractured eye socket after being involved in a car crash in Malaysia, to being diagnosed with Covid-19 earlier this year and crashing out prematurely at the All-England and Tokyo Olympics.
Momota’s victory also indicates the men’s singles could witness another open affair with any shuttler on his day standing a shot at the title.
The Japanese became the fourth different winner from the last four events since the Denmark Open.
Axelsen clinched the Denmark Open, followed by Tsuneyama bagging the French Open and Loh Kean Yew clinching the Hylo Open title.
Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia is also slated to participate at the Indonesia Open, again being drawn to face Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke in the first round.
Lee also played Gemke in the opening round of the Indonesia Masters before retiring after 13 minutes due to a hip injury.
Liew Daren, meanwhile, takes on Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie in his men's singles opener.