Japanese badminton star sets sights on Tokyo 2020 after incredible year on BWF Tour with win over Anthony Ginting, as Chen Yufei seals top spot in world rankings with victory in Guangzhou, Chinese duo complete 'Super Grand Slam', and daddies claim a win.
Japan's reigning World Champion came from a game down to defeat Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting in a thrilling final that lasted just under an hour and a half.
The 25-year-old Momota had lost last year’s final to China’s Shi Yuqi, but made no mistake on Sunday, treating the crowd inside the packed Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou to amazing display of badminton, as he came back to win the season-ending event 17-21, 21-17, 21-14.
The 23-year-old Indonesian Ginting started the final strongly, winning the very first point and steadily kept his lead to take the first game 21-17.
Two-time World Champion Momota came back hard in the second, dominating the first few points, but it was Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) medallist Ginting who lead going into the break at 11 points.
The two continued trading blows, with neither able to open up a gap.
The loud crowd in China were treated to long rallies, reaching up to 31 shots, but neither player showed any signs of letting up.
In the end, the Japanese player dug deep to clinch the second game 21-17.
The title fight came down to the decider, and once again not much separated the two.
At 5-5, a series of errors by Momota saw Ginting take a 6 point lead going into the half-way break at 11-5.
After the change of court, Momota came back hard and managed to close the deficit as they drew level again at 12-12.
This time around, mistakes by Ginting allowed Momota to edge in front 17-14.
After over an hour on court, Ginting needed a medical time-out to treat the blister on his right foot.
Momota wasted no time in taking advantage, sealing victory 21-14, to clinch the final title of an amazing season for Japan's world number one.
Momota spoke to Olympic Channel after the victory, saying that of all his victories this season, "This World Tour Finals is the most difficult tournament to win".
On the opening game of the final, he said he was "overwhelmed" by the fast start from Ginting, adding, "I tried to match his speed, but before I managed to do so the [first] game was over.
"I just played carefully to win the [second] game and force a decider."
"I still have many more tournaments to play to ensure I qualify for the Olympic Games" - Kento Momota to Olympic Channel
Before the game, Momota had told Olympic Channel about his desire to compete and succeed at Tokyo 2020.
Following the controversy surrounding the Japanese star in 2016, he outlined the Olympics as his main focus for the year ahead.
Following the final, Ginting spoke of his disappointment at not being able to win the final, but told us he was "pleased with my overall performance this week".
An epic women's singles final saw Chen Yufei of China beat Tai Tzu Ying 12-21, 21-12, 21-17 to claim her 7th crown of the season.
By winning the title she also becomes the new world number one.
Yufei is the first Chinese woman to top the singles world rankings for more than four years.
Speaking after the win, Chen Yufei said "I told myself that it didn't matter that I lost the first game. The match is long and there was still a lot of chance for victory."
Support from the fans helped her come back and win the title, she told Olympic Channel in China.
Doubles World Champions Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong ended their season on a high by clinching the BWF World Tour Finals title.
In a repeat of last year, the mixed doubles final was an all-Chinese affair once again, with Wang LiLyu and Huang Dong Ping on the other side of the net.
However Wang and Huang were unable to emulate their success of 12 months ago and succumbed to this year’s top seeds and world number 1 duo in straight sets, 21-14, 21-14.
Zheng and Huang completed a 'Super Grand Slam' with the victory to cap a perfect year.
In 2019 the Chinese duo won the World Championships and all three Super 1000 titles before this season-ending crown.
Speaking to Olympic Channel after the victory in their home country, the pair credited the support inside the venue.
“We have so many fans here and this big stadium is full. That helped me really get into the game and it’s a fantastic feeling to win here. Great fans make great results” – Zheng Si Wei to Olympic Chanel
There was also success for China in the women's doubles, as world number 1 ranked pair Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan beat Japanese duo Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara to claim the title.
The emphatic 21-14, 21-10 victory took 43 minutes.
Speaking to Olympic Channel after the win, Jia commented: "The gold medal is only represent we had a good season this year but doesn't mean anything for the future.
"Next year we are going to have new challenge in a new season. We can't stop. We have to keep working hard." - Jia Yifan to Olympic Channel after winning Women's Doubles title at World Tour Finals.
Indonesian pair Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, affectionately known as the 'Daddies', added the World Tour Finals crown to a year where they also claimed the World Championship title.
Ahsan and Setiawan beat Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe 24-22, 21-19 in a tight encounter to claim the trophy.
It's their fourth of 2019, having also won in New Zealand, and the All England title.
11 - 15 Dec 2019
BWF World Tour Finals - Guangzhou