Kento Momota of Japan isn't a two-time World Champion for nothing. The man who had already 10 titles under his belt in 2019 proved why he could end up as an all-time great by an incredible fighting effort to defeat Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 17-21, 21-17, 21-14 from a seemingly insurmountable position.
Ginting had proven in the past that he is one man who has the antidote to Momota's brilliance. It was Ginting who had denied him the Asian Games gold and earlier this year, had knocked him out of the French Open.
Momota probably realised the threat from his Indonesian opponent also and made an uncharacteristically aggressive start. The Japanese player usually likes to engage in long rallies which suck the energy out his opponents. But in this match, he was forcing the pace and taking to the front court often in order to pressurise his rival.
Initially, things seem to work for the World Champion but then Ginting started to rear his head and make an impact. He was showing great agility across the court to retrieve most of the shots played from the other side and also playing some sublime shots of his own. The cross-court smash from the deep-forehand corner and deceptive net shots left the world no. 1 looking clueless. Not surprisingly, Ginting ended up winning the first game.
The pressure was on the World Champion. He was being challenged in a way he hasn't been for a long time. The retrieving of Ginting had rendered his smash very unsuccessful. But Momota persevered and was greatly helped by some nervous-looking loose shots from his opponent.
But just when it seemed that Momota could take a sigh of relief, Ginting came roaring back to reach the mid-game interval ahead of the Japanese. After the break, the man with 10 titles this year came back and tightened up his game to level the match and take it into a much-wanted decider.
The very first point of the third game was scored by a cross-court smash from round the head position by Momota, signaling he means business. Also, considering the sterility of his smashes so far, it was an important sign. But Ginting too was ready for it and continued to chase down Momota's shots as well as play some delectable ones of his own.
Soon, Momota was struggling again as Ginting continued to pressurize his opponent. Despite the first point of the game, Momota was just not able to find winners as Ginting kept chasing everything down. The Indonesian also kept playing his deadly smashes, now down the line also, to take the match away from the World Champion.
The score at the interval was 11-5 in Ginting's favour and soon became 12-5. All hope seemed lost in the Japanese camp. But then, Momota decided to go back to his normal style of play. Rather than rushing through, he started playing long rallies and make his opponent run around the court. This strategy worked like a charm as the world no. 1 scored seven points in a row to level the scores.
Ginting did score a point to break the momentum but Momota had found his groove. With clear signs of tiredness on Ginting's part, the World Champion went on a roll and kept pushing his opponent to make more and more mistakes. Soon, he was able to play some deceptive net shots of his own to increase his lead. From 5-12 down, Momota allowed his opponent to score just two more points and wrapped up the game to lift the BWF World Tour Finals men's singles title.