Badminton world champion Momota in Japan Open final
Tokyo : Japanese shuttler Kento Momota on Saturday defeated top seed Viktor Axelsen in straight games to reach the final of the Japan Open, where he faces Thailand's Khosit Phetpradab.
The reigning world champion dominated the match against 24-year-old Danish giant Axelsen to grab victory at 21-18, 21-11, while Phetpradab advanced after beating South Korea's Lee Dong Keun 21-12, 21-16, reports Xinhua news agency.
"It was really tough to endure a long rally while paying attention to sharp shots from Axelsen," Momota told TV Asahi after the match.
"I think I could win because I was able to chase the shuttlecock aggressively until the last minute," he added.
Momota became the first Japanese man to win the badminton World Championships last month, putting behind him a gambling scandal that threatened to ruin his career.
The 24-year-old was engulfed by controversy in 2016 when Japanese badminton chiefs suspended him for more than a year for visiting an illegal casino, denying him a place at the Rio Olympics.
In women's singles, Olympic champion Carolina Marin sent China's Chen Yufei packing after beating the world No.5 21-12, 21-13.
The Spaniard became the first woman to win three badminton world titles after an emphatic victory over P.V. Sindhu of India in Nanjing last month.
The 25-year-old Spaniard added the 2018 crown to her 2014 and 2015 titles, as well as the Olympic gold she won over the unlucky Sindhu at Rio 2016.
Marin will meet Japan's 2017 world champion Nozomi Okuhara, 23, who beat Aya Ohori also from Japan 21-12, 21-12.