Looking to get back to her winning ways, former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal started her medal quest at the BWF World Championships 2022 on the right note after she defeated Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong in straight games, 21-19, 21-9 to storm into the second round.
A 2-time World Championships medallist – with a silver and a bronze, Saina Nehwal will be looking to add one more to the tally as she began her campaign in Tokyo with a decent start against the 29-year-old.
Coached by her husband and fellow shuttler Parupalli Kashyap from the sidelines, Saina Nehwal had to stave off some pressure points, especially in the second half of the first game where she ended up giving a lot of points on her service, but she ultimately prevailed and won the first game narrowly, 21-19.
Into the second game, Saina Nehwal completely took the momentum in her stride and played slick drop shots, big smashes and smacked some trademark cross-court winners that left Cheung desperately reaching out to retrieve, but in vain.
It was pretty much one-way traffic against the World No. 50 shuttler from Hong Kong in the second game as Saina Nehwal took her head-to-head to a 4-1 lead against Cheung with this first-round win.
Progressing into the Round of 32 at the BWF World Championships, Nehwal, who is starting to regain her form looked much sharper in the second game after Kashyap pointed out some key factors in the game interval.
Fresh from her quarterfinal run at the Singapore Open 2022, where Nehwal had even taken out He Bing Jiao of China, Nehwal is indeed starting to look like her vintage self in parts and can spring a surprise at the Worlds this time – especially in the absence of PV Sindhu this time.
With Malvika Bansod already ousted, Nehwal remains the only women’s singles player from India left in the fray.