Saina Nehwal's campaign opener in the World Badminton Championship was expected to be nothing more than a fitness test. Down with chicken pox 10 days before the tournament, the world number 6 needed to assess herself before taking on the big guns.
The Indonesia Super Series champion did
not pass the test with flying colours but gave enough proof that she would get better with time.
Saina’s second round encounter, she had a bye in the first round, against Anastasia Prokopenko of Russia began on a sluggish note, but as the game progressed the 20-year-old started to move fluently. Saina needed just 27 minutes to register a 21-10, 21-17 win and set up a third round clash against 10th seed Petya Nedelcheva.
The Beijing Olympic Games quarterfinalist got caught at the net during the first few points but a couple of long rallies were enough to get her into the groove in Hyderabad on Wednesday. There were several rallies in the opening game but closing them with her trademark smashes, Saina showed that all she needed was some match practice to peak.
The second game was a tight affair with Saina playing against the drift. That allowed the Russian, a good doubles player, to attack more. "I was always in control," Saina said after the match.
On her fitness, Saina said she did not need to push herself.