MS Day 5 - It was too much for MOMOTA…
CHOU Tien Chen in the French Open final once again
First semifinal of the day was opposing CHOU Tien Chen (world no 4, Chinese Taipei) to the surprising HEO Kwanghee (world no 34, Korea). They already faced twice : one victory on each side. After two long games against Brice LEVERDEZ in round 2 and Kenta NISHIMOTO yesterday, question was to know if the Taiwanese recovered enough to be able to beat the Korean. About his challenger, it was the first time for him in a 750 semifinal and he was perhaps a bit stressed by playing such an important match. It is in fact the experienced Taiwanese who took control of the first set, leading 11/8 at the interval. The “chouchou” of the French Audience continued to perform well to take the first set 21/15. He might look a bit tired, especially when he had to move back to play the shots, but the 2014 French Open winner was comfortably leading 14/8 during the second set. Even though the 26-years-old Korean player came back up to 14/12, it is the world number 4 who finished the job 21/15 and qualified to the final. Even if he laid on the ground after the match CHOU assured us that he is not that exhausted : “How did I look on court today ? I think I won (laughing). A lot of people think I am tired so I had to show him (his opponent) on court that I was not. (…) But of course I will need to prepare my body for tomorrow.” No doubt it will be needed since he will face the world number 13 Kanta TSUNEYAMA.
Kanta TSUNEYAMA instead of Kento MOMOTA
Everyone in Paris wanted to see the world number one Kento MOMOTA (Japan). Against him, his country fellow Kantab TSUNEYAMA (world no 13, Japan). The first set was spectacular and last 44 minutes. It was a 4-corner-game, more about the moves than about the power. Despite a good start from TSUNEYAMA (3/1) it is the number 1 seed who took the lead at the scoreboard 11/9. The best player in the world kept his advantage up to 19/19. Then, he had six set opportunities. Five were outstandingly saved by the world number 13. But Kento finally found his way to win the opening game 26/24. However, Kento called the doctor during the break for a hip problem. Right after this event, TSUNEYAMA quickly took the advantage of following set and MOMOTA had to call for medical assistance once again at 6/3. It was quite clear that the world number one had difficulties for the diagonal moves. Thus, his challenger won the set 21/11. The Japanese coach came to see MOMOTA before the deciding game and after a few seconds of discussion, the world champion chose to retire. He did not stop in mixed zone to directly find some more advanced medical assistance.
A mix of sadness for his friend’s injury and happiness for being in a 750 Final on TSUNEYAMA face : “I did not find difficult to play against my country fellow. I like to play be myself and the same way with any opponent. I am very happy to be in a 750 tournament final and I do not want to be impressed or anxious about the final tomorrow even though CHOU is a very good opponent”.