Momota Overcomes Shaky Start; Japan Blank England

A tentative Kento Momota, playing his first event since his disappointing campaign at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, helped Japan to a 5-0 result over England at the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2021 today in Vantaa.

There was much curiosity around Momota’s form, after the top seed had crashed out in the group stage of the Olympics. Today, taking the court against world No.205 Johnnie Torjussen after Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino had given Japan the lead in their Group D tie against England, Momota looked far from the player who once dominated the circuit.

The Japanese was frequently caught out by Torjussen’s smashes on either flank as the England 22-year-old played breezily and looked set to take the opening game. A netted serve at the end handed the advantage to Momota, who gained confidence with the first game under his belt, and closed out the match without further lapses.

“I was very nervous in the beginning and was unable to play my own game. Towards the second I was able to calm myself down and get a grip over my game,” said Momota.

Johnnie Torjussen.

“I would like to improve in terms of focus. I was nervous today and couldn’t focus on one point at a time. However, the good thing is that I could calm myself down.”

Torjussen said he was surprised at the number of smashes that went unanswered.

“It was definitely a surprise for me, I don’t know if he was feeling nervous. It was nice to see my smashes being able to penetrate his defence. I think it’s definitely a big confidence booster for me, to get to that stage against the best in the world. I want to do that in future against every player.”

Ben Lane and Sean Vendy took a game off Akira Koga/Taichi Saito but couldn’t prevent Japan from taking an unassailable 3-0 lead. Akane Yamaguchi made it 4-0 beating Abigail Holden 21-16 21-12 before Chiharu Shida/Nami Matsuyama closed it out in straight games over Chloe Birch/Lauren Smith.

In the other Group B tie of the day, Malaysia beat Egypt 5-0, while in Group B, Chinese Taipei beat Germany 5-0 and Korea beat Tahiti by the same margin.

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