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Kento Momota caps stellar year with 11th badminton title

AFP-JIJI, Kyodo

World No. 1 Kento Momota fought back from a game down to win his 11th badminton title of the year on Sunday with victory at the BWF World Tour Finals.

The peerless Japanese player defeated Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting 17-21, 21-17, 21-14 in 87 high-quality minutes in the final at the season-ending showpiece in Guangzhou, China.

With th result, Momota surpassed the 10 tournaments won by recently retired Malaysian great Lee Chong Wei in 2010.

“At this World Tour Finals I played carefully from the first match partly with the aim of winning an 11th title,” the 25-year-old Momota said.

“Even in tough games I did not give up.

“I could have given up hope there, but after thinking of all the people who have supported me, I wasn’t going to lay down.*

Momota was pushed all the way by the speedy Ginting and fell 12-5 down in the deciding third game to the world No.8.

However, the reigning two-time world champion surged back.

Ginting was trailing 17-14 when he called the doctor on court for treatment on his right foot.

The fading Indonesian continued but Momota rammed home his advantage to seal a stellar season in style.

The 23-year-old Ginting has now tasted defeat in all five of his finals this year.

“He led (in the deciding game) but I was patient,” said Momota, who was banned for a year in 2016 for illegal gambling.

“And then I got to know that he was in pain so all I needed to do was stay calm.”

In the women’s final, China’s Chen Yufei also roared back from a game down to defeat Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying 12-21, 21-12, 21-17.

Chen will replace Tai as world number one in the latest rankings.

In women’s doubles, the world’s top-ranked pair, China’s Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan, defeated Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara.

Matsumoto and Nagahara, the two-time defending world champions, lost their bid for a first title in this event 21-14, 21-10.

A Japanese pair also lost the men’s doubles final, with Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe losing to Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.

The world’s second-ranked pair, Ahsan and Setiawan, won 24-22, 21-19. Japan has yet to win a men’s doubles title at the finals.