Badminton Asian C’ships: Momota, Tai clinch singles titles

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Wuhan, April 29 (IANS) Japan’s Kento Momota and Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei bagged the men’s singles and women’s singles titles respectively at the Badminton Asian Championships here on Sunday.

Former world No. 2 Kento Momota of Japan finished the week in style, beating defending champion Chen Long of China 21-17, 21-13 to win the summit clash of the men’s singles event, reports Xinhua news agency.

Also, it was Momota’s first victory over Chen in their five meetings.

The Japanese shuttler went into the break in the first game with a 11-8 lead. Although the Rio Olympic champion Chen restored himself and hit a 6-1 to overturn the score, Momota again reclaimed the lead with a five-point winning streak.

The second game turned to be a one-sided fight as Momota eventually collected the title in an hour.

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“It was the turning point of the whole match when I led by 14-12 in the first game, I was caught in his pace, which made me lose points in row,” Chen said after the match.

In the women’s singles final, Tai defended her title as she managed to carve out a 21-19, 22-20 win over China’s Chen Yufei.

The 42-minute long clash saw a close fight between the two finalists, however Tai held her nerve to emerge victorious.

It was Yufei’s second defeat to the former world No. 1 this year, the eighth of her career, after she had lost to Tai at the All-England Open last month, where the latter eventually won the title.

“In the beginning of the game, I had too many faults. So I was trying to tell myself to ‘calm down’,” Tai, 24, said.

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“Chen is always improving. In fact, she played more consistently than me today and gave me great pressure,” she added.

Earlier, the home mixed doubles pair of Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping registered a 21-17, 21-17 win over top-seeded Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia.

In the men’s double final, reigning champions Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen of China claimed a sensational win. Coming from one game down, the Chinese duo overcame Japan’s Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda 11-21, 21-10, 21-13 to defend their title.

“It’s a game worth carefully reviewing and summarizing,” Li said adding, “We had a poor start in the first game, but we restored in the second and levelled the score. In the third, our confidence was back.”

Meanwhile, the women’s double final saw a battle between two Japanese pairs. Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota defeated Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi 21-18, 18-21, 21-15.

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–IANS

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