Kowloon: Saina Nehwal is back with a bang from her injury break and is now through to the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open Super Series after a hard fought 21-18, 9-21, 21-16 win over Japan’s Sayaka Sato in the second round.
The Indian ace needed 51 minutes to get past her Japanese opponent who made a match out of it.
Saina, who had won the Hong Kong Open in 2010, is taking part in her second tournament after making a comeback from a knee surgery which had resulted in an early ouster from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The Hyderabad girl won the first game 21-18 after both the players were neck and neck at one point. Sato though made a roaring comeback in the match and completely outplayed the India in the second game to level the contest.
Saina though kept her composure in the final game and raced ahead of her opponent. She was always the favourite after taking the early lead and eventually won the game 21-16 to win the match.
She could end up clashing with compatriot PV Sindhu in the semi-finals if both the players make it through to the last 4.
Saina had earlier defeated Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 12-21, 21-19, 21-17 in the first round to take revenge of her loss to the same opponent in the China Open earlier this month.
Saina has slipped five places in the latest world rankings to number 11 while PV Sindhu has climbed two places to number nine after her victory in the China Super Series Premier.
Remember only the top 8 players in the world can contest in the prestigious year-ending BWF Super Series Masters Finals.