Saina Nehwal made a winning start at the BWF World Championships after convincing victory over Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong.
Tokyo: Former champion Saina Nehwal returned to the international badminton court with a stupendous victory against Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi at the BWF World Championships 2022 in Tokyo, Japan.
India’s women’s shuttler was in tremendous touch, needing just 38 minutes to beat her opponent Cheung Ngan Yi 21-19, 21-9 to move into the second round at the prestigious world event.
Saina got a bye to the 3rd round because her 2nd-round opponent and 6th seed, Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, withdrew from the tournament. Saina will face the winner of the second-round match between 12th seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand and Yvonne Li of Germany.
Saina was at her best as she outplayed her nemesis, Cheung, in both the games. Saina received assistance from the sidelines as she dominated the rallies thanks to her former Commonwealth Games champion and husband, Parupalli Kashyap, who has been providing coaching to her.
As Saina sailed to the finish line, she was moving with ease on the court and appeared sharper than before this season.
Saina Nehwal, who didn’t participate in the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games campaigns, will benefit greatly from a strong performance in this competition. The London Olympics bronze medallist has been looking in excellent form.
Saina was the only Indian to challenge in the women’s singles category at the world championships, as young Malavika Bansod lost in the first round. PV Sindhu, the 2019 champion, decided not to participate in the tournament, citing an injury she suffered during her gold medal-winning run at the Commonwealth Games.
Earlier in the day, India’s in-form women’s doubles pairing of Gayatri Gopichand and Jolly Treesa won their opening round-match against Low Yeen Yuan and Valeree Siow 21-11, 21-13.