Momota eyes Malaysia Masters

JAPAN'S Kento Momota and Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting have emerged as favourites for the men's singles crown at this week's Malaysia Masters following the expected withdrawals of world No 1 Viktor Axelsen and Asian champion Lee Zii Jia.

Having rediscovered his form by finishing runner-up to Axelsen in last week's Malaysia Open, the 27-year-old Momota now aims to keep rising and win the Super 500 event at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.

However, Momota will not have it easy as world No 6 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting will likely to offer him some resistance. Taiwan's Chou Tien Chen and Indonesia's Jonatan Christie are equally eager to make the most of Axelsen and Zii Jia's absence from the tournament.

Malaysia Open champion Axelsen and Zii Jia's withdrawals were expected as they have been playing non-stop this season. Axelsen showed his superiority by winning his third straight tournament at Axiata Arena on Sunday after his Indonesia Masters and Indonesia Open triumphs.

Zii Jia's form has been decent despite losing in the second round of the Malaysia Open. The 24-year-old won the Asia Championships and the Thailand Open this year.

"It is time to rest and recharge before I step on the court again," posted Axelsen on social media.

Zii Jia, meanwhile, shared a picture of his house in Alor Star today on social media, indicating he was not in Kuala Lumpur for the tournament.

Zii Jia's assistant coach Liew Daren is the only Malaysian in the men's singles main draw. He plays Hong Kong's Angus Ng Ka Long in the first round.

Cheam June Wei, Leong Jun Hao, Soong Joo Ven, Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin, Ng Tze Leong and Yeoh Seng Zoe will play in the qualifying round today.

For the record, Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing were the last local winners at the Malaysia Masters when the pair won the mixed doubles title in 2017 in Sibu.

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