Korea Open 2018: Saina Nehwal vs Nozomi Okuhara quarter-final; preview, telecast, date, start time and where to watch online
- Who is expected to win this blockbuster quarter-final match? Find it out in our analysis here:
(5) Saina Nehwal (WR #10) vs (3) Nozomi Okuhara (WR #8)
Head-to-head: Nehwal leads 6-3
Last meeting: Okuhara def Nehwal 21-11, 23-25, 21-16 at the Asian Games 2018 Women’s Team Event quarter-finals
Having warmed up with a couple of wins over lower-ranked Korean opponents, Saina Nehwal is set to face her biggest challenge in the form of former world champion Nozomi Okuhara at the Korea Open 2018 quarter-finals. Nehwal leads their head-to-head meetings, which proves her comfort level in dealing with the Japanese in the past.
However, Okuhara has got an upper hand in this rivalry in the last one year. Both their last two meetings went the distance with the diminutive Japanese managing to hold her nerves and eke out the wins in the end.
Okuhara also has age on her side. There is a difference of five years between the two, which automatically tells that the 23-year-old Japanese -- the younger of the two -- is bound to have more energy in this match. And that is an essential component in each and every one of the duels with Okuhara.
Known for her stubborn defence, she will force the opponent into submission through grinding rallies. Okuhara also has beautiful control at the net, making her an ever-dangerous player.
Okuhara indeed will have the momentum going into this match. But Saina too is a fierce fighter. If anybody still needed any validation of that, then one needs to be reminded of their very last showdown.
Having been outplayed by the feisty Okuhara in the first game, Nehwal fought back admirably, saving multiple match points to stretch the match to a decider. There were enough flashes of the Saina of yore, who would never ever give up until match point is won.
Nehwal needs to draw confidence from that match, and ensure she doesn’t allow Okuhara to push her into gruelling rallies. Points need to be kept short and attacking, otherwise the age difference will play a major role in this match.
Of late, Saina has been losing quite a few three-game battles. With the sport producing younger, zealous and tireless champions, the 28-year-old Saina’s lack of speed and her physical fatigue have become more and more evident. The former World No. 1 could do herself a world of good if she can prevent a third game from happening.
And, for that, she needs to get into action right from the word go. And that is easier said than done against a player of Okuhara’s calibre.
Prediction: Okuhara in three games
Here's all the information you need to know
Tournament name: Korea Open 2018
Location: Seoul, Korea
Category: Super 500
Date: Friday, September 28, 2018
Time: (5) Saina Nehwal vs (3) Nozomi Okuhara at approx. 5.15pm local time/1.45pm IST
Broadcast: Live telecast on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports HD2
Livestream: Hotstar.comPublished 27 Sep 2018, 23:37 IST