2019 wasn't a season to remember for London Olympic bronze medallist and former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal. While she did make a fine start by winning the Indonesia Masters in January, injuries and a lack of consistency cost her dearly.
The 29-year-old kept struggling for the remainder of the season and many sports lovers even started wondering if age was indeed catching up with her. With a strong performance in her first match of 2020, the Commonwealth Games champion has managed to quell much of those doubts swirling around her fitness and form.
Nehwal took just 36 minutes to brush aside the challenge of World No. 45 Lianne Tan 21-15, 21-17. The smooth, hassle-free victory definitely boosted Nehwal's confidence level ahead of a difficult second-round clash with the eighth seed An Se Young.
Perched at a career-high world ranking of No. 9, the Korean has been a revelation. In the past year, she improved by leaps and bounds and showed tremendous fearlessness and determination to take down some of the most established names of the sport.
From Carolina Marin to Akane Yamaguchi to Sung Ji Hyun, Young has claimed some big scalps in a mind-blowing run to the top echelons of the badminton world. Saina Nehwal herself was one of her victims in the scintillating season that saw the 17-year-old win five titles, one of which was the French Open Super 750.
It was a tough 20-22, 21-23 loss for Nehwal in their solitary meeting so far in Paris last year and she clearly knows that she needs to be a front-runner to have any chance of emerging victorious in this clash.
Here is all you need to know about
Tournament: PERODUA Malaysia Masters 2020
Category: Super 500
Prize Money: US $400,000
Venue: Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Dates: January 7-12, 2020
Match Schedule: Saina Nehwal vs (8) An Se Young at approx 10:30 am IST on January 9, 2020
Where to watch the Malaysia Masters 2020 matches in India?
The Malaysia Masters matches will be telecast live on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD from the quarterfinals.
Malaysia Masters 2020 Live Stream Details
Live stream will be available on Hotstar.com.Published 09 Jan 2020, 00:53 IST