MALAYSIAN badminton sensation Lee Zii Jia believes that Japan’s Kento Momota is only struggling from a temporary loss of form.
On Wednesday, the 24-year-old picked up his second straight win over the two-time former world champion this year, as Malaysia went on to defeat Japan 3-2 in the final Group D tie of the Thomas Cup in Bangkok.
World No 6 Zii Jia also got the better of the former world No 1 in the quarter-finals of the All England in March.
In his post match interview following a stunning 21-17, 21-8 win over Momota at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Zii Jia said: “I believe what Momota is going through right now is just temporary. He is definitely not in his best shape.
But I believe he will bounce back.”
Zii Jia pointed out that Momota is a player with very strong character, especially when he quickly rose back to world No 1 in 2018, after serving a suspension for illegal gambling in 2016.
“Momota has got very strong character. He only needed a year to get to world No 1 from nothing.
“I do not see this current dip in form as a major problem for him,” added Zii Jia.
In 2017, Momota dropped to world No 282 in July but by September 2018 he had reclaimed his No 1 spot.
For the record, Momota is also the only shuttler to make it into the Guinness World Book of Records for the “most badminton men’s singles titles in a season” for his achievement in winning 11 titles in the 2019 season.
Though Momota is still trying to find his footing, 2014 champions Japan were able to reach the Thomas Cup quarter-finals as group runners-up. They took on Group C winners Taiwan in the last eight. Fabian Peter