Ten crowns for the King
The date was 27 January 2019. Kento Momota had just lost the final of the Indonesian Masters against Dane Anders Antonsen. It was then that everything changed.
The two-time world champion won his 10th title of the year in Fuzhou on Sunday, with the unexpected defeat at the start of the year inspiring him to get down to business and what a run of performances the Japanese star has enjoyed!
He hasn’t looked back, having stood atop the podium in Singapore, Korea and of course England to name a few!
With such sharp skills at the net, he closes down matches with the commitment and precision of a true champion and this repeat of the 2018 final never looked to be any different.
The world number one was made to work by Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien-Chen but the second seed just could not find the magic in the third and final game.
The All England champion is in the form of his life, and with just four months to go until he returns to the Birmingham courts, we can’t wait to see what King Kento brings to the show!
Pain continues for Okuhara
Six defeats from six finals – not the best of stats for world number one Nozomi Okuhara.
This one, a repeat of 2018’s final, saw the Japanese player fall to reigning champion Chen Yu Fei in a three-game battle.
There is a lot of history between these two - All England champion Chen overcame Okuhara in the semi-finals in Birmingham earlier this year and walked away with the Australian Open title in June.
There’s still time for the 24-year-old to return to winning ways before she arrives back on English shores, but it certainly won’t be an easy journey with such a tight group of women’s singles contenders in the mix.
It wasn’t a title but victory against the ‘daddies’ certainly felt like it for Malaysian duo Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.
The world number two pair, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan beat them in the YONEX All England final in March, as well as in the Denmark Open R16 last month, so it was time for revenge for the world number 14’s.
They toppled the three-time world champions in the last eight on Friday, winning in just 25 minutes.
We know we talk about the minions all the time and rightly so – they are in remarkable form and have won yet another world tour title this weekend in China.
But this is a little shout out as we recognise some up-and-coming talent who’ve put in some consistent displays throughout 2019.
The All England may come at just the right time for last year’s finalists to reach the pinnacle stage once again.
Young’s momentum halted
Young Korean hopeful An Se Young couldn’t quite get the momentum going in China.
Following her amazing triumph against Spain’s Carolina Marin last month in Paris, the 17-year-old has been in great form, climbing the rankings to sit nicely at number 11.
Chinese seventh seed, He Bing Jiao, proved too much out in China but don’t write Young off that easily – that was always going to be a tough ask.
With World champion PV Sindhu and All England finalist Saina Nehwal both also exiting early in the week, there is so much to play for in this women’s singles category as we approach Olympic year.
Despite some English exits towards the front end of the tournament, Olympic bronze medallists Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis pulled out an impressive display to reach the quarter-finals of this Super 750 event in Fuzhou.
The world number 21 pair scooped victory against in-form Huang and Liu of China, before they fell to Japanese fourth seeds Kamura and Sonoda on Friday.
Next up they have the Syed Modi International before thoughts turn to 2020 and their return to the hallowed courts of Birmingham in March!
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