Momota back to erase painful memory in Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Japan’s Kento Momota will be back competing in Malaysia for the first time after the painful accident two years ago following his victory in the Malaysian Masters.

Second seed Momota leads a star-studded line-up in the Malaysian Open from June 28-July 3 featuring all the top 10 men’s singles players except for China’s Chen Long.

Men’s singles coaching director Wong Choong Hann was pleased that the Malaysian Open was back after two years with a full house and welcomed the presence of world No. 2 Momota and the other top players.

“It’s good for the sport to be alive again in Malaysia after so long,” said Choong Hann.

The last time Momota competed in Malaysia, he went back home with eye and nose injuries after a terrifying car accident.

The Japanese who was in top form until then, needed eye surgery and has never quite reached the same heights since.

But he will be looking to rediscover the form that won him two world titles in 2018, 2019 and numerous other accolades including the Malaysian Masters just before the incident.

He showed signs of revival by reaching the Denmark Open final and winning the Indonesian Masters last year but this year, he has been inconsistent.

While Momota is still searching for his best form, Malaysia’s world No. 5 Lee Zii Jia, who is in the best form of his life, will be out to win his first home title.

Besides Momota and Zii Jia, the other seeded players and challengers for the title are Olympic Games champion and top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen, India’s Thomas Cup winner Lakshya Sen, Singapore’s reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew and Indonesians Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie.

The last Malaysian Open in 2019 was won by China’s Lin Dan while the last Malaysian to have tasted the singles victory was Lee Chong Wei, who won his 12th home title in 2018. Men’s singles: 1. Viktor Axelsen (Den), 2. Kento Momota (Jpn), 3. Anders Antonsen (Den), 4. Chou Tien-chen (Tpe), 5. Lee Zii Jia (Mas), 6. Anthony Ginting (Ina), 7. Jonatan Christie (Ina), 8. Lakshya Sen (Ind).

Men’s doubles: 1. Kevin Sanjaya-Marcus Fernaldi (Ina), 2. Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi (Jpn), 3. Hendra Setiawan-Mohd Ahsan (Ina), 4. Wang Chi-lin-Lee Yang (Tpe), 5. Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (Mas), 6. Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto (Ina), 7. Chirag Shetty-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (Ind), 8. Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Den).

Women’s singles: 1. Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn), 2. Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe), 3. An Se-young (Kor), 4. Chen Yufei (Chn), 5. Carolina Marin (Spa), 6. Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn), 7. P.V. Sindhu (Ind), 8. Ratchanok Intanon (Tha).

Women’s doubles: 1. Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (Chn), 2. Lee So-hee-Shin Seung-chan (Kor), 3. Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yeong (Kor), 4. Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn), 5. Wakana Nagahara-Mayu Matsumoto (Jpn), 6. Chiharu Shida-Nami Matsuyama (Jpn), 7. Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai (Tha), 8. Stefani Stoeva-Gabriela Stoeva (Bul).

Mixed doubles: 1. Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha), 2. Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn), 3. Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino (Jpn), 4. Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (Chn), 5. Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva (Ina), 6. Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (Hkg), 7. Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (Mas), 8. Thom Gicquel-Delphine Delrue (Fra).

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