CAN Japan’s Kento Momota get any better than what he is today?
Yesterday, the reigning men’s singles world champion bagged his maiden title on Malaysian soil when he outclassed Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the final to lift the Malaysia Masters crown.
Following a narrow win in the first game, the Japanese ace switched gears in the second to seal the tie 24-22, 21-11 in 54 minutes at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.
Earlier this week, Momota disclosed that he wasn’t in the best of shapes after a hectic 2019, which saw him land a record 11 titles, including the All England and BWF World Tour Finals.
As a result, Momota has withdrawn from this week’s Indonesia Masters.
After easing through his 13th consecutive victory over Axelsen, a former world champion, one starts to wonder just how good is Momota at his best.
“I didn’t withdraw from the Indonesia Masters because of injury. It’s just that last year was a hectic season. I am not as strong.
“However, winning the World Tour Finals boosted my confidence, and I came into this tournament feeling calm and focused.
“I also know when to focus on attack and defence. I don’t dwell on losing the point, that’s the difference,” said Momota.
Axelsen, on the other hand, had very little to say, and you can’t blame the Dane.
“Yes, I feel frustrated too. I tried my best but it wasn’t enough.
“You have to be stable, or else it’s going to be hard to beat him,” Axelsen lamented.
Axelsen, who last defeated Momota in 2014, declined to comment much on the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
“It’s still a long way to go, I will do my best,” he added.
Momota earned US$30,000 (RM122,000) for his efforts while Axelsen received US$15,200 (RM62,000).
RESULTS (All Finals) — Men’s singles: Kento Momota (Jpn) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 24-22, 21-11; Doubles: Kim Gi Jung-Lee Yong Dae (Kor) bt Li Jun Hui-Liu Yu Chen (Chn) 21-14, 21-16;
Women’s singles: Chen Yu Fei (Chn) bt Tai Tzu Ying (Tai) 21-17, 21-10; Doubles: Li Wen Mei-Zheng Yu (Chn) bt Du Yue-Li Yun Hui (Chn) 21-19, 16-21, 21-19;
Mixed doubles: Zheng Si Wei-Huang Ya Qiong (Chn) bt Wang Yi Lyu-Huang Dong Ping (Chn) 21-19, 21-12.