In an incredible co-incidence, the finals of three out of five categories in BWF World Tour Super 750 Fuzhou China Open will see the same finalists as last year. The women's singles and mixed doubles finals starting list had already been finalized before the last men's singles semi-final between Chou Tien Chen and Anders Antonsen ended in a victory for the former.
As a result, 2019 would also see a final between Kento Momota of Japan and Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei for the men's singles title.
The World Champion ensured his progress in the final through a clinical performance in which he defeated unseeded Danish player Rasmus Gemke 21-19, 21-8. In typical Momota style, the world no. 1 took his time to settle down and relied on long rallies to win points. Unlike his last match though, the Japanese player did play some of his strong smashes to assert himself.
The first game was still quite competitive as Gemke tried to soak in the pressure of long rallies. He even, through some good shots, put his much more fancied opponent in trouble. At one stage, the Dane was leading 18-12.
But then, the World champion showed his class and drew level at 19-19 before taking the first game. After this comeback, Momota increased his intensity and ensured that his opponent had no opportunity of registering an impact in the second game. The match was duly wrapped up.
The second semi-final was expected to be a closer contest. Antonsen is this year's silver medalist from the World Championship and Chen the second-seed. But it only required two games for the Taiwanese player to enter the final for the second straight year in Fuzhou with a comprehensive 21-10, 21-12 victory.
Chen made his Danish rival run around the court and dominated the rallies. It wasn't as if Antonsen was hopelessly out of touch. But he could never command the rallies and succumbed to the shots of his opponent.
Last year, Momota had emerged as the winner in the final against Chen. He is again the favourite. But the way the Chinese Taipei shuttler played in the semis should give his fans some hope. Still, he will have to be at his fittest and most patient to defeat the top-seed.