Denpasar, Indonesia – World champion Kento Momota defeated Anders Antonsen in the Indonesia Masters final on Sunday, his first victory in an international tournament since he was seriously injured in a car accident last year.
Momota defeated the Danish third seed 21-17, 21-11 on the island of Bali, where the tournament was held as the first of three consecutive competitions culminating in the final of the World Tour that ended the season.
The final was close in the first round, but the Japanese ace managed to build a strong defense as Antonsen made unforced errors on several occasions.
The world’s best badminton player, with a record 11 titles in 2019, Momota was almost forced to retire after suffering a life-threatening injury in a car accident in January last year.
He broke his eye socket in the accident, killing the driver of the car in which he was.
When he returned to his Olympic debut in Tokyo this year, he dropped out of the group stage, blaming his own “weakness”.
Momota had a relatively easy draw in Bali after Olympic gold medalist Viktor Axelsen was knocked out in the round of 16 on Thursday. And China is not sending any players to any of the tournaments in Bali, which means that Olympic silver medalist Chen Long is absent.
In addition to Momota’s victory, the Japanese national team won two more trophies in Sunday’s final.
In the men’s doubles, Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi stunned domestic favorites – and top-ranked duo – Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjay Sukamuljo, 21-11, 17-21, 21-19.
“We are glad to have beaten the world’s number one players,” Hoki said. “It makes us safe.”
Kobayashi added: “We lost 10 of them, but we learned from our and their mistakes and practiced the lessons in today’s match.”
Meanwhile, female pair Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida defeated South Korean pair Jeong Na-eun and Kim Hye-jeong 21-9, 21-11.
Third-placed player Akane Yamaguchi also made it to the finals, but lost to South Korean first seed An Seyoung 21-17, 21-19.
In mixed doubles, Thais Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai defeated Hong Kong’s Tang Chun-man and Tse Ying-sueta 21-11, 21-12.
Next in Bali is the Indonesia Open, which takes place from Tuesday to Sunday. The finals of the BWF Tour, which ends the season, run from December 1st to 5th.
Badminton World Tour events in Indonesia are usually played in the capital Jakarta, but organizers have opted for Bali, which has been hit hard by the loss of visitors during the pandemic. The tournaments are held without fans and in a bladder protected from the virus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some disappointed fans in Indonesia crazy about badminton sent gifts like flowers and dolls to a biosafe hotel.
“Normally, I could see them playing in Jakarta, but since it’s far away in Bali, I sent them flowers to show my support,” said Deti Mega fan, who sent flowers with her friend to Axelsen and the Gideon duo. Sukamuljo.
“I am happy because my gifts reached them while they were posting flowers and greeting cards on their social media,” she said, quoted by the Indonesian Badminton Association.
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