Kento Momota won his 10th title of a remarkable year as Japan’s world No. 1 defeated Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan to retain his Fuzhou China Open crown yesterday.
Home hope Chen Yufei also defended the women’s title with a gritty victory over Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara.
Reigning two-time world champion Momota battled past world No. 2 Chou 21-15, 17-21, 21-18 in a repeat of last year’s final.
The 29-year-old Chou is in the unusual position of not having a coach and instead relies on his longtime physio to guide him courtside during matches.
Chou saved one match point, but handed Momota the title by hitting into the net. The Japanese player fell onto his back and screamed in celebration, his fists clenched.
The peerless Momota, 25, has had another hugely successful year, his haul of titles including another world crown and the All England Open.
The women’s final was a similarly grueling affair and likewise went to three games.
Chen lost the first game 21-9 to Okuhara, but recovered to lift the Fuzhou title for the second year in a row by winning the next two 21-12, 21-18.
It was more disappointment for Okuhara, who has now lost all six finals she has contested this year.
Okuhara reached the final after world No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan was forced to retire from the deciding game in their semi-final on Saturday.
“It’s my left knee,” Tai said after the match. “I haven’t been feeling good since the French Open” last month.
“The injury has persisted this week and I have not been playing in my best condition here,” she said.
Tai told the Badminton World Federation Web site that she would not play at the Hong Kong Open, which is to begin tomorrow.
“I need to rest, but there was no gap, so I did not have time to let my knee rest and recover,” she said. “I got a week after the French Open before coming here [to China]. It’s very painful and I’m afraid of aggravating it.”
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