Much has been said in the wake of Shi Yuqi’s impressive 15-21 21-5 21-11 victory over world number one Kento Momota at the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019.
Mainly on the issue of whether Japan coach Park Joo Bong could have rested Momota in early Group 1A play. He answered that emphatically in the post-match interview on Sunday.
“He played in the group stage, quarterfinals, semifinals and he finished late yesterday. Maybe his recovery was not enough. He tried to speed up but he couldn’t.
“In the first match against Russia, Kenta Nishimoto was not very good. We feel there is a gap (in performance level) between Momota and Nishimoto so we had no choice. Momota had to play.”
Still, answers remain as to how Momoto could have gone from one game up and in command, to dropping the next two games by the biggest margin of his career.
How many times have you seen Momota drop 11 consecutive points?
Momota offered an explanation on Sunday as to whether he was tired and felt the expectation on his shoulders, but ultimately, he credited his opponent for the supreme play.
“Yes, the pressure was there as we were 0-2 down.
“But I was attacked severely by Shi (in the second and third games). I tried to adjust and find a solution but when I realised how to deal with it, it was already too late.
“I was shell-shocked by how well he played. This was a very painful lesson for me,” he said.
Shi Yuqi completes stunning comeback over World No.1 Kento Momota to clinch China 🇨🇳 three-game sweep of Japan 🇯🇵 in TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup Finals
#TOTALBWFSC2019 #Nanning2019 pic.twitter.com/NwtJ5lxNef
— BWF (@bwfmedia) May 26, 2019
Shi Yuqi, who became the first person to defeat Momota in a Sudirman Cup or Thomas Cup tie, said he was equally surprised by the result.
“It’s really unexpected. I won 21-5 and 21-11. This would not have happened if he had played his usual game,” he said.
On his own performance he added: “Given the team pressure, I played well. If I were to rate myself, I’d say 80 per cent.
“I didn’t put much pressure on him in the first game, so I had to play more decisively in order to win points.
“I’m glad I didn’t give up and was able to fight back from a game down with support from my team.”
It’s scary to think what Shi at 100 per cent could achieve!
For Momota and Park, it’s back to the drawing board ahead of the World Championships and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.