Korea Masters: Momota Breaks Dry Spell

Former No.1 Kento Momota tasted title success after nearly two years, taking the Korea Masters 2023 with a straight-games defeat of compatriot Koki Watanabe.

The two-time world champion, who has slid to No.52 on the back of a lacklustre season, hasn’t topped the podium since winning the Indonesia Masters in November 2021. Since then, he has been in only one other final – the Malaysia Open in July 2022. This year he has crashed out in the first round of eight events.

Momota was mostly in control against Watanabe, and he looked sharp except at the very end, when he nearly lost his way. At 17-5 in the second, it looked headed for a rout, but Momota suffered a shaky spell, losing a series of points to keep Watanabe in the contest. Yet, his opponent had made his charge too late, and Momota closed it out before it got any trickier, 21-16 21-15.

Korea Claim Three Titles

Kim Ga Eun won her first title since 2019

Meanwhile, world champions Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yu Jung led the way for the hosts as Korea finished with three titles. Seo/Chae enjoyed a fairly comfortable win over French Open champions Jiang Zhen Bang/Wei Ya Xin, 21-14 21-15 in 33 minutes.

Kim Ga Eun, taking on last year’s World Junior champion Tomoka Miyazaki in the women’s singles final, had to fight her way back from a first-game deficit to win her first title in over four years. Miyazaki had her sights on the title at 16-13 in the second game, but Kim turned up her aggressive game at that point, and with six straight points, took the match away from her young challenger for her first title of the year, and her first title since the Lingshui China Masters in March 2019.

Korea’s third title of the day came in women’s doubles through second seeds Jeong Na Eun/Kim Hye Jeong, who overcame Japanese fifth seeds Rui Hirokami/Yuna Kato 21-12 21-19 in 50 minutes. It was Jeong/Kim’s first title of the year.

In the final match of the day, Lee Jhe-Huei/Yang Po-Hsuan upstaged compatriots and Olympic champions Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin 21-17 21-19 as they too won their first title of the year.


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