Momota's magical 10 as he retains Fuzhou China Open title
*Image credit goes to BWF and Rapheal
There is no stopping Japan's ace shuttler Kento Momota - the current world No 1 - who clinched his 10th title of the season - when he retained the men's singles crown in the USD700,000 Fuzhou China Open in Fuzhou on Sunday.
However, the 25-year-old Kagawa-born Momota had to dig deep into his reserves as he held off a determined fightback from second-seeded Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei for his 21-15, 17-21, 21-18 win in 83 minutes in a repeat of last year's final.
It was a tough, tough battle for Momota who is chasing his Tokyo Olympics dream to make up for the disappointment of missing the 2016 Rio Olympics due to suspension imposed by the Nippon Badminton Association for gross indiscipline after he was found guilty of gambling at illegal casinos.
On Sunday, an inspired Momota celebrated his victory with a loud screaming yell of satisfaction with clenched fists before kissing the Japan flag on his shirt with pride and show of patriotism.
He praised Tien Chen for his tremendous fighting spirit and never say die attitude even when the chips are down he displayed at the Haixia Olympics Sports Center in Fuzhou.
Tien Chen, the world No 2, was gracious in his defeat and said Momota's mastery at the net that gave his opponent the edge.
"I will have to improve," said Tien Chen who earned USD23,800 for his efforts while the champion pocketed USD49,000.
Japan also celebrated the women's doubles title as No 2 seeds Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota wrote history as the first from their country to win the women's doubles in the tournament with a 21-17, 21-15 win over Koreans Lee So Hee-Shin Seung Chan.
In the women's singles, it was another heartbreak Japan's Nozomi Okuhara. The current world No 1 went down to home favorite and third-seeded Chen Yufei. In a repeat of last year's final Yufei retained her title after a titanic battle to prevail 9-21, 21-12, 21-18 in 82 minutes.
It was a blistering win for Yufei who had to seek medical treatment for a blister in her left foot in the decider. For Okuhara was her sixth defeat in sixth final which left her disappointed. Okuhara went into the match with a 4-3 lead in the previous seven meetings.
History was also written in the men's doubles with the Minions from Indonesia - world No 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo - retained their title with a straight-game 21-17, 21-9 win over Japanese fourth seeds Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda. The Indonesians became the first pair to have won four consecutive titles on the world tour.
The mixed doubles title was China's for the taking. Number two seeds Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping upset compatriots and world No 1 Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong 21-14, 21-13 in 32 minutes for the winners' purse of USD51,800.
RESULTS (ALL FINALS)
Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (JPN) beat Lee So Hee-Shun Seung Chan (KOR) 21-17, 21-15
Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (CHN) beat Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (CHN) 21-14, 21-13
Chen Yufei (CHN) beat Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) 9-21, 21-12, 21-18
Kento Momota (JPN) beat Chou Tien Chen (TPE) 21-15, 17-21, 21-18
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) beat Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (JPN) 21-17, 21-9