Japanese singles shuttler Kento Momota is the player to watch. World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen were both singing praises of the 20-year-old.
BUKIT JALIL: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei took a dig at the Malaysian juniors after reaching the men’s singles semi-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
He told them to emulate Japan’s 20-year-old Kento Momota and show progress in their game.
On Friday, the 31-year-old Chong Wei showed that he was back in the groove when he made short work of China’s Du Pengyu with a classy 21-9, 21-15 win in just 34 minutes at Putra Stadium.
On Saturday, Chong Wei will take on Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen for a place in final and to keep alive the hope of winning his 10th home title.
The 26-year-old Jorgensen had to fight hard to reach the last four after snuffing off a fiery challenge from former world junior champion Momota.
Even though Momota went down fighting on Friday, Chong Wei said that the 2012 world junior champion had grown to be a new threat for top players.
“I have not played against him but I have seen him in action. He is talented and is a player to watch out for after (Kenichi) Tago.
“He was a world junior two years ago and look at where is now. He has moved up. What has happened to our world juniors?
“Our future looks gloomy. I hope our juniors will step up and learn from others,” said Chong Wei.
On his semi-final match on Saturday, he said: “I am quite satisfied with my performance against Du Pengyu. It will be tough tomorrow but I am still very much determined to go all the way.”
French Open champion Jorgensen was just so happy to make the top four and vowed to give Chong Wei a run for his money.
“This young boy (Momota) is certainly making old men like me struggle,” he quipped.
“I did not play badminton for two weeks last month and despite the lack of preparation, I made it to the quarter-finals at the Korean Open last week and the Malaysian Open semi-finals. That’s great.
“Honestly, I am tired of losing to Chong Wei. I plan to make some special effort to give hima a good fight,” he said.
“I admire Chong Wei. He is a great ambassador for the game and he is a supreme player. But I know that I have the game in me to beat him and hope for a good show,” he added.
Jorgensen has only won once in 11 meetings against Chong Wei.