ASEAN – A shocking first-round loss at the Asia Championships on Wednesday marked a new low for two-time world champion Kento Momota, whose terrible run of form reached an all-time low.
Ecuadorian ranked 52nd in the world, Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo, fell down in the opening game but rallied to defeat Japan’s top seed in three straight games in little over an hour at the Philippine Open in Manila.
In the women’s singles, first seed and Momota’s fellow Japanese Akane Yamaguchi had no such problems, destroying India’s Aakarshi Kashyap in only 26 minutes with a 21-15, 21-9 victory.
The former world number one, who is currently ranked second behind Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, has never regained his sparkling top form after being severely wounded in a career-threatening automobile accident in January 2020. Momota is married with a young daughter.
Momota’s first victory following the collision came at the Indonesia Masters in November, and he was forced to withdraw from the World Championships in December due to a back ailment.
Momota was eliminated in the first round of the German Open last month and failed to go beyond the quarterfinals of the All England Championships.
The Japanese ace said that the tragedy that claimed the life of his chauffeur on the route to the Kuala Lumpur airport only hours after winning the Malaysia Masters had “nearly crushed” his “soul.”
Momota had double vision and required surgery on an orbital bone near his eye, leading him to believe that his professional career was gone.
He will return to the circuit at the end of 2020 and was a heavy favorite to win Olympic gold in his native country of Japan last year, but he was eliminated early in the competition.