World No 1 Kento Momota said he was lifted by the crowd and can’t wait to return for the Tokyo Olympics after he sealed a home singles sweep at the Japan Open.
Momota and Akane Yamaguchi gave Japan their first ever sweep of the men’s and women’s singles titles on Sunday, raising Japanese hopes a year out from the 2020 Games.
Momota, last year’s champion, has now won 10 matches in a row at the venue that will host the Olympic badminton tournament.
“I felt great as I heard a lot of applause and the court is great, too,” Japan’s Daily Sports quoted the world champion as saying.
“I want to play [next year] to entertain them at this venue so that I can return the favour,” he said.
The win came after Momota made a second-round exit at the Indonesia Open in Jakarta as top seed and defending champion.
“I didn’t get good results last week and I wasn’t confident of a repeat,” Momota said, according to Kyodo news agency.
“But so many people were rooting for me, and thanks to all of you I was able to win. I hope to keep working hard knowing that I have that support.”
Momota clinched the men’s title after world No 2 Yamaguchi beat third-ranked Nozomi Okuhara in an all-Japanese women’s singles decider.
The match lasted just 46 minutes, with 22-year-old Yamaguchi lifting her second straight trophy after last week’s Indonesia Open.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever won two weeks in a row and there’s a feeling of accomplishment,” Kyodo quoted her as saying.
“I had a bad feeling when we started out with long rallies. But it was good I was able to regain control of the moment and play with perseverance.”