Having remained absent from competition for nearly three months, Saina Nehwal is very much looking forward to getting some wins under her belt and building her confidence ahead of the World Championships next month.
She could not have chosen a tournament better than the Super 500 Thailand Open for that. It has a quality field but some of the most in-form shuttlers have opted out after a hectic schedule that had back-to-back elite tournaments in Jakarta, Tokyo and now Bangkok.
That gives the London Olympic bronze medallist a good opportunity to hone her skills and brush off any lingering rust before she gets ready to battle it out with the very best in the game.
On Wednesday, Saina made a positive start to her campaign at the tournament where she triumphed in 2012. Rising talent Phittayaporn Chaiwan did put up some stiff resistance but the experienced Indian was able to lift her game at the crunch moments to pull off a 21-17, 21-19 win.
Up next for her is the 18th-ranked Sayaka Takahashi. The Japanese has been a long-time member of the top 20 which makes her a quality opponent. However, her record against the World No. 8 Nehwal is something she wouldn't be proud of.
She has lost all four of her previous meetings with the Indian. Only on two occasions was she able to take a game off Nehwal and both of those matches were way back in 2014. They haven't met since 2015 and even though Saina might still need a bit of time to get back her peak form, she is expected to raise her level and pull through, should the going get tough.
Here is all you need to know about the Thailand Open
Tournament: Toyota Thailand Open 2019
Category: Super 500
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Head-to-head: Nehwal leads 4-0
Schedule: (7) Saina Nehwal vs Sayaka Takahashi at 3:15 pm local time or 1:45 pm IST on Thursday, August 1, 2019
Where to watch the matches in India?
There is no live telecast information for the Thailand Open as of now.
Live Stream Details and Info for the matches:
Live Stream for the matches is available on Shuttle Live channel on YouTube.Published 31 Jul 2019, 20:20 IST