Monday, August 19, 2019

World champion Momota makes electric start to BWF Finals

Dec 12. 2018
Kento Momota of Japan reacts during his men's singles first round match against Sameer Verma of India at the 2018 BWF World Tour Finals of badminton in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong province on December 12, 2018.
Kento Momota of Japan reacts during his men's singles first round match against Sameer Verma of India at the 2018 BWF World Tour Finals of badminton in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong province on December 12, 2018.
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By AFP

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World badminton champion Kento Momota made a lightning start at the BWF World Tour Finals in China on Wednesday, rampaging past India's overwhelmed Sameer Verma in just 36 minutes.

The Japanese star is looking to put the seal on a breakthrough year in which he has risen to number one in the rankings and become world champion for the first time.

It is all a far cry from 2016, when Momota was expelled from Japan's team for the Rio Olympics and banned for more than a year for visiting an illegal casino.

The 24-year-old had too much quality and power for Verma -- ranked 14th in the world -- thrashing him 21-18, 21-6 to confirm his status as the man to beat in Guangzhou. 

Also untroubled in her opener was the women's number one, Tai Tzu-ying from Tawian, who defeated Zhang Beiwen of the United States 21-15, 21-17 in 30 minutes. 

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