Korea Masters: Momota in Year’s First Final

Former No.1 Kento Momota earned himself a shot at his first title in two years as he beat Lei Lan Xi in the semifinals of the Korea Masters 2023 on Saturday.

Momota’s previous best this season was a semifinal finish at the German Open 2023 in March, but that was the exception in an otherwise bleak season, for he has lost in the first round of eight events.

The unseeded Japanese, now ranked 52, beat Wang Po-Wei, Kai Schaeffer, Soong Joo Ven and Lei Lan Xi on his way to the title round, and takes on compatriot Koki Watanabe in the final. It will be his first final since the Malaysia Open last July. If he does beat Watanabe, it will be his first title since the Indonesia Masters in November 2021.

Swiss Open winner Koki Watanabe made the final beating third seed Wang Tzu Wei 21-15 21-14.

Tomoka Miyazaki

In women’s singles, last year’s World Junior champion Tomoka Miyazaki made her first HSBC BWF World Tour final overcoming Indonesia’s Ester Nurumi Tri Wardoyo, 21-14 15-21 21-12.

Miyazaki, who was promoted from the qualifying draw, beat Sim Yu Jin in the second round and senior compatriot Natsuki Nidaira in the quarterfinals.

Facing her in the final will be home hope Kim Ga Eun, who had a comfortable semifinal against Asuka Takahashi, 21-16 21-7. This is Kim’s second final of the year after her Australian Open runner-up finish in August.

Other Highlights

Mixed doubles world champions Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yu Jung are in their fifth final of the year after beating fourth seeds Chen Tang Jie/Toh Ee Wei 21-14 21-17. They face China’s Jiang Zhen Bang/Wei Ya Xin, who beat another Malaysian pair, Goh Soon Huat/Lai Shevon Jemie, in straight games.

Men’s doubles will be an all-Chinese Taipei battle with Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin facing compatriots Lee Jhe-Huei/Yang Po-Hsuan. Olympic champions Lee/Wang are in their second final in two weeks after finishing runners-up at the HYLO Open last Sunday.

In women’s doubles, home pair Jeong Na Eun/Kim Hye Jeong will take on Rui Hirokami/Yuna Kato in their quest for the year’s first title.


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