PETALING JAYA: The race for the men’s singles title is now open with the shocking exit of Kento Momota of Japan.
The two-time world champion and top seed was beaten 15-21, 19-21 by South Korea’s 25-year-old Heo Kwang-hee in the final Group A match yesterday – crushing the hopes of hosts Japan to see their first-ever badminton singles champion winning at home.
Only the group champion advance to the last 16 stage.
In a day of surprises, Kevin Cordon stole the limelight when the 34-year-old Guatemalan, playing in his fourth Olympics, stunned eighth seed Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong 22-20, 21-13 to win Group C and earned the right to play in the knockout stage.
It was the second time the world No. 59, who famously sent Chen Long of China packing in the 2011 World Championships, had made it this far.
In London 2012, Cordon also cleared the group stage but was beaten by Sho Sasaki of Japan.
He seems to have a good chance of going one step further this time as he faces another surprise package Mark Caljouw of Holland for a place in the last eight.
Caljouw also impressed yesterday when he emerged as Group D winner after beating 13th seed B. Sai Praneeth of India 21-14, 21-14.