World No. 2 Kento Momota of Japan lost his All England Open men’s singles quarter-final to defending champion Li Zi Tzu of Malaysia on Friday, ending his bid to reclaim the title he won in 2019.
Lee prevailed 21-7, 13-21, 21-11 in 64 minutes at the Utilita Arena Birmingham, winning a rematch of last year’s quarter-final as former world champion Momota made his international return.
Kento Momota of Japan competes in the men’s singles quarterfinal at the Badminton England Open on March 18, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Getty/Kyodo)
The 27-year-old Japanese missed most of the 2020 season after suffering career-threatening injuries in a car crash in Malaysia.
Momota found his groove in the second game and the 2019 champion battled back from 8-12 down to tie the match at one game apiece, but Lee won 10 straight points in the decider to seal the result.
“I was playing like a winning game, but I lost. It was close until the middle of the last game, but I think it was my lack of confidence to return his smashes backcourt that led to the loss,” Momota said.
Akane Yamaguchi reached the last four in women’s singles. In mixed doubles, Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino booked their place in Saturday’s semi-finals.
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