BWF Kumamoto Masters 2023: Momota Kento’s Grueling Journey to Quarterfinal Glory

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Another day, another griding victory from Momota Kento.

Badminton’s Japanese former world No. 1 went to great lengths – 101 minutes to be exact – to beat Rasmus Gemke 21-19, 20-22, 21-16 and progress to the quarter-finals at the Kumamoto Masters Japan 2023 on Thursday (16 November).

“A 100 minutes? It was incredibly hard,” Momota told reporters. “I almost gave up a few times but I managed to get through it thanks to the crowd. Really, they had my back.

“Today wasn’t about the quality of shots. It was about getting down and dirty and just being resilient.”

As if 85 minutes wasn’t enough in his first-round win over Loh Kean Yew a day earlier, Momota plugged in nearly three matches worth of work against Gemke on this afternoon.

In the decisive third game, Momota was down 14-8 to the Dane but rattled off six consecutive points to even the score.

With both players running on fumes, it was Momota – who tends to win the hard way – that managed to milk out the last five points of the match as Gemke faded.

“My legs were about to cramp up but he looked like he was in worse shape than me,” Momota said. “That sort of made it easier for me to deal with and I decided to just stick it out.

“In the end, I think he gave up first so that helped.”

Momota now progresses into the quarter-finals to face fourth seed Shi Yuqi of People’s Republic of China, with Shi defeating compatriot Lu Guangzu in the last 16.

The pick of the men’s quarter-finals is world number one and top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark against Indonesian sixth seed Jonatan Christie, with each man coming through hard-fought three-game duels to reach the last eight.

Axelsen beat Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong 20-22, 21-11, 21-18 while Christie saw off Siu Li-yang of Chinese Taipei 19-21, 21-11, 22-20.

In the women’s draw, the top seeds all progressed, with Chinese third seed and Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Chen Yufei setting up a tasty quarter-final clash against her predecessor as Olympic gold medallist, fifth-seeded Spaniard Carolina Marin.

Featured Image: BWF News

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