A tough challenge awaits Saina Nehwal at the Asian Badminton Championship (ABC), starting on Monday in Suwon, Korea.
The world number nine has some tough appointments in store at the championship, beginning with world No. 14 Jiang Yanjiao of China in the first round.
If the Indian shuttler manages to go past Yanjiao, she, in all probability, will have world no. five Lin Wang or world no. 15 Mew Choo waiting for her in the last-eight round. The 25-year-old Yanjiao, her first opponent in the championship, has China Open and Uber Cup triumphs to her credit.
The Chinese also made it to the semifinals of the All England and the final of the Swiss Open this year. Saina, however, sounded quite confident ahead of the championship.
"I stretched her to three games when I played her last. So I know I can beat her if I play well," she said.
The 18-year-old Hyderabad player isn't disappointed at her quarterfinal loss in the recently held India Open, "The result isn't going to affect my game at the ABC. I have notched up pretty good results over the last two years, and therefore I am pretty confident heading into the championship."
The other Indian in the women's singles category, Aditi Mutatkar, who's returning after an injury lay-off, will take on Chiang Pei Hsin of Chinese Taipei in her opening round.
In men's section, third seed Chetan Anand will meet Japanese Kozai Kazuteru in the opening round, P Kashyap will face Nepalese Rana Kishor, and Anand Pawar will take on a qualifier. Top Indian mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju, who cracked into the top 10 recently, will take on a qualifier in the first round.
The men's doubles pair of Rupesh Kumar and Thomas Sanave will begin against China’s Xu Chen and Guo Zhendong.