Top-ranked Kento Momota was sent packing in the Hong Kong Open semifinals Saturday after a stunning semifinal loss to South Korean Son Wan-ho.
Son triumphed 18-21, 21-16, 21-19 in an exhausting 89 minutes — the longest match of the tournament so far — after seeing off a late boost from the exhausted Japanese star in the decider.
Momota led through the first game but slipped for long enough for his opponent to level at 17-all after conceding six consecutive points.
He kept the edge after the interval before Son broke into the lead at 12-11 with a gravity-defying let after a tap at net.
Momota evened with a backhand after springing back from prone position after a stumble but couldn’t stop the sixth seed from powering ahead.
Son led through most of the third game but Momota kept at his heels, drawing level five times before an agonizing miss on match point.