Badminton: Revived Japan ace Momota stuns home favourite Chen, top seed Tai wins women's Asian title

Kento Momota hitting a return against Chen Long during their singles final at the 2018 Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan on April 29.
Kento Momota hitting a return against Chen Long during their singles final at the 2018 Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan on April 29.PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (AFP) - Japan's Kento Momota shocked Olympic gold medallist Chen Long to be crowned badminton's Asian champion in a stunning upset on Sunday.

The world No. 17 had never previously won a game against Chen, but he floored the strong Chinese favourite 21-17, 21-13 at the Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan.

Momota, a compact left-hander, had defending champion Chen firmly on the back foot as he reeled off seven straight points to clinch the title in one hour when the world No. 3 netted.

Momota clenched his fists in triumph and kissed the Japan badge on his singlet after his victory, which follows his straight-sets dismissal of Malaysian great Lee Chong Wei in the semi-finals.

The 23-year-old's breakthrough follows a steady rise up the rankings, and comes after four previous defeats to Chen, a two-time world champion. The former world No. 2 is making a comeback after serving a one-year ban for gambling in 2016.

Earlier, a second home player Chen Yufei went down to 19-21, 20-22 to Chinese Taipei's top seed Tai Tzu Ying in the women's singles final, as hosts China were denied another title.

But Chinese second seeds Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping beat Indonesian top seeds Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir 21-17, 21-17 in the mixed doubles final to restore some home pride.

As well, China's top seeds Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen outlasted third seeds Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda from Japan 11-21, 21-10, 21-13 for the men's doubles title.

The women's doubles final was an all-Japanese affair.

None of Singapore's shuttlers made it past their opening rounds.