No player in the modern badminton history has dominated a calendar year like Kento Momota did in 2019. The Japanese won 11 major titles this year. Even the greats Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan have not stacked up as many titles in a year as this.
But is Momota unbeatable? Considering that he would be playing on home soil at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, many think that his victory at that event is almost certain. However, those people need to look closely at the final of the BWF World Tour Finals. Yes, Momota won that match but if you followed the game closely, you may have noticed some chinks in the World Champion's armour.
The 25-year old was trailing 5-12 in the final game and looked set to lose in the final of this event for the second year in a row. But then, Momota roared back in the game with his usual style of play – engaging in long rallies – and ended up winning quite comfortably in the end.
However, the biggest factor in the match turning in the eventual winner's favour was the fact that Anthony Sinisuka Ginting – the losing finalist – became very tired in the end and couldn't continue retrieving as before. It would have been very interesting to see what would have happened if Ginting had even more stamina. It's quite likely that he may have won.
The reason why the Indonesian player was in such a dominant position at one point was because he had completely defanged the offense of the World Champion. Momota's defense and stamina has been the pillars of his success. His offense is good but isn't the most attractive part of his game. Ginting, by retrieving almost everything that his opponent had thrown at him, made scoring points very hard for him.
This is where the formula for beating Momota becomes clear. One has to play a great retrieving game to frustrate Momota's point-scoring game. At the same time, that person needs to have incredible stamina which can match that of his opponent. If that player can keep himself going for a long time, he can unseat the current World Champion. Let's wait and see whether anyone can achieve this.