SHAH ALAM: He may have suffered some surprise losses of late but Malaysia's former World No 1, Datuk Lee Chong Wei is still the man to beat says Japan's rising star Kento Momota.
Momota, the newly crowned India Open Superseries champion holds the Malaysian in high respect and believes Chong Wei will not only do well in the Rio Olympics in August but also in other tournaments.
"Chong Wei is still the main threat. He is still a very dangerous opponent," said Momota after his 21-19, 22-20 win over India's H.S. Prannoy in the first round in the Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open Superseries Premier at the Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam on Wednesday.
"There are others like Chen Long and Lin Dan … but to me Chong Wei is the man to beat. He may have suffered shock defeats in the All-England and India Open but it does not mean his badminton is on the slide.
"You win some and lose some in any sports and this is what has happened to Chong Wei.
He added that Chong Wei had the motivation to do well in the Olympics."
On his chances in the Malaysia Open the former junior world champion (2012) said his match against Prannoy has given him the "momentum" for his coming matches.
"It is windy inside the stadium but I will have managed to adjust my game. I will be in better shape to face my opponents now. For sure I am motivated with my win in India as I have won all my four superseries finals," added Momota.
Momota's second round opponent is England's Rajiv Ouseph who ousted China's Wang Zhengming 21-19, 21-18 in his first round match.