Momota pulls out of HK Open

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 13 Nov 2019

World No 1 Kento Momota unexpectedly withdrew from the Hong Kong Open yesterday without playing a match.

The shock departure comes only a few days after the 24-year-old Japanese badminton star beat world No 2 Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan to claim his 10th title of the year at the China Open.

Momota was set to play India's Kidamni Srikanth today at the Coliseum.

The tournament began yesterday despite continuing pro-democracy protests. And a number of the SAR's players qualified for the main draw to delight home fans.

The Super 500 event is one of the few high-profile sports events to go ahead in Hong Kong during five months of demonstrations. That was after it was thrown into doubt by the police shooting of a demonstrator and a man being set on fire by protesters on Monday.

Local favorite Cheung Ying-mei was up at dawn to battle the dodgy transport system to get to the venue on time. But it paid off for her with a 21-10, 20-22, 21-19 win against Indonesia's Lyanny Alessandra Mainaky.

She faces Denmark's Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt in the women's singles first round today.

Mixed doubles pair Ng Tsz-yau and Yeung Ming-nok had a bitter-sweet win over compatriots Yeung Shing-choi and Ka Yan-fan 21-14, 21-13. But Yeung then teamed with Chang Tak-ching in the men's doubles to beat Taiwan pair Chang Ko-chi and Lu Chia-pin 21-18, 21-17.

"We played well," said Chang. "The Hong Kong people cheering helped."

The pair face China's Ou Xuanyi and Zhang Nan in the first round.

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