FINAL SCORE: 21-18, 9-21, 21-16
SAINA NEHWAL IS THROUGH TO THE QUARTER-FINALS!!!!!!!
SAINA NEHWAL wins the game 21-16
And Saina is looking extremely confident at the moment and has FIVE match points in hand with a lead of 20-15
Each time Saina inches ahead, the Japanese succeeds in coming back to put pressure on the Indian. Nehwal goes up 15-13 where she finally looks to have put the Japanese at bay. Nehwal extends her lead to 17-14 presently.
On resumption, the Japanese is fighting back and is now breathing down Saina's neck at 11-12.
And at half-time, it is the Indian who is ahead 11-8
Unfazed, the Indian once more regroups to surge ahead to 10-8.
Finally, Sato's persistence is paying off. She has cut down Saina's lead to 8-9 now.
The game continues in the same fashion with the Japanese pushing the Indian hard but Saina managing to maintain her lead all the time under pressure. She is now up 9-6
Sato is trying her best to throw the Indian off her rhythm but the 2010 champion has held firm for a 7-3 lead.
This is amazing turnaround from the former World No. 1. Saina has extended her lead to 5-1 now.
Saina seems to have regrouped in the decider. Pushing aside the setback, she has now opened up a 2-0 lead.
We are now off to a decider!!!!
A brilliant Sato has wrapped up the second game 21-9.
This game is moving fast away from Saina's grip and she now trails 9-19.
And the Japanese looks extremely comfortable and confident at the moment as Saina seems to be struggling a bit. Sato is up 15-6
It goes without saying that Nehwal needs to do a lot of work in the second half of the game.
At the mid-game interval, the World No. 14 Sato is up 11-4.
And she is inching closer to the half-time lead with a whopping 10-3 advantage.
Sato is moving the Indian all over the court and exploiting her sluggish pace. The Japanese is up 8-2 currently.
But for now, it is the lower-ranked Japanese who has taken an early lead of 4-1 in the second game.
Nehwal has a 5-1 lead over the World No. 14 and has won their last four showdowns. The Indian will hope to extend that head-to-head record by taking another game in this match.
And Nehwal takes the first game 21-18
Nehwal needs to be careful as Sato has closed the gap to 18-20 now.
Sato did bag a couple of points but the Indian was able to stop her mini momentum and she is now 19-14 ahead.
And now Saina looks to have taken control of the game and has built up a massive five-point lead (17-12)
Sato levelled the scores to 11-11 right on resumption but the Indian has once again steered the game back her way and now leads 14-12.
And the Indian has held on to her slender lead to go into the interval with an 11-9 lead.
But Nehwal looks to have now settled down and has now closed the gap to 7-8
Sato has started out as the more aggressive player and has gone up 6-4.
Good afternoon and welcome to the Sportskeeda liveblog of the Hong Kong Open second round where Saina Nehwal seeks a quarter-final spot vs Japan's Sayaka Sato.