Saina Nehwal's indifferent performances in the last few weeks have not just cost her valuable ranking points but have also created more hurdles in her quest for a maiden World Championship medal.
Seeded sixth for the event, to be held in London from August 8-14, Saina is likely to face off with 14th seed Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong in the third round and third seed Xin Wang of China in the quarterfinals.
The 21-year-old, who was knocked out in the quarterfinals of the last two editions by a Chinese opponent, has received a bye in the opening round and is likely to breeze past the winner of the match between Adrianti Firdasari of Indonesia and Chloe Magee of Ireland in the second round.Her real test will be against Yin, who got the better of the Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the last eight stage of the Asian Games in December. The players have a 2-2 head-to-head record but the deceptive Hong Kong shuttler has never been an easy opponent for Saina.
A possible quarterfinal against Xin could start a series of clashes with the Chinese for Saina as the top four seeds in the women's draw are from the badminton powerhouse.
Saina has a 1-3 record against her first possible Chinese opponent but can take heart from the fact that their last encounter in the Sudirman Cup ended up in an easy victory for the Indian.
In the men's singles, P Kashyap can hope to reach at least the third round, while Ajay Jayaram will have to get the better of 15th seed Kenichi Tago of Japan in the first round.