The young Czech retired with a back injury but not before subjecting the former World No. 1 to a tough workout in the first game.
The fact that she was able to clinch such a tight game, despite being under tremendous pressure, would bolster Nehwal's confidence going forward in this Super 500 tournament.
2021 wasn't kind to the Indian shuttle queen. The 31-year-old suffered a first-round exit in five of the seven events she took part in. A run to the semifinals of the Orleans Masters was her only noteworthy result.
A longstanding knee injury robbed the London Olympic bronze medalist of whatever momentum she built.
After her first-round win in New Delhi on Wednesday, Nehwal revealed that she had been plagued by at least three injuries in the last year. Not only did she tear her knee cartilage, she had issues with the patella and meniscus as well.
The World No. 25 admitted that playing the India Open wasn't part of her plan as she is still only 60-70% fit. But she wanted to give it a go, with the tournament being at home.
With Nehwal not being at her best, it could give rising stars at the tournament a glimmer of hope. Nehwal's next opponent, Malvika Bansod, is one of them. The Nagpur youngster is ranked only 111th but has already given a thorough demonstration of her talent.
The 20-year-old southpaw, who idolizes Lin Dan, has been fast rising up the rankings charts. She already has four BWF International Challenge/Series titles to her credit, with two of them coming last year.
Bansod started her India Open 2022 campaign on Wednesday (12 January) with a strong 21-18, 21-9 dismissal of compatriot Samiya Imad Farooqui. The fearless youngster will be keen to continue the momentum and put Nehwal in a spot of bother with her speed and shot-making when the two face off.
India Open 2022: Match details
Fixture: (4) Saina Nehwal vs Malvika Bansod.
Head-to-head: Saina Nehwal and Malvika Bansod have never squared off on the tour before, so their head-to-head is currently tied at 0-0.
Date: January 13, 2021.
Time: Approx. 12.40 pm IST.
Tournament: Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2022.
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: New Delhi, India.
Category: HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500.
When and where to watch Saina Nehwal vs
The second-round clash between Saina Nehwal and Malvika Bansod won't be telecast anywhere.
However, the match can be followed on the BWF website and Tournament Software, both of which will provide live scores. In addition, the social media accounts of both BWF and the Badminton Association of India will provide regular updates on the match.
Due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation, the India Open is being held behind closed doors this time. No fans or media have been allowed inside the Indira Gandhi Stadium.