Former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal, who is aiming to return to winning ways, got the BWF World Championships 2022 off to a good start by defeating Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi in straight games, 21-19, 21-9. Nehwal would have faced Nozomi Okuhara in next round, but got bye instead, to move into last 16.
Saina Nehwal, who has two medals from the World Championships—a silver and a bronze—will be aiming to increase her total after she got off to a respectable start in Tokyo against the 29-year-old.
Nehwal, who was being coached from the sidelines by her husband and fellow shuttler Parupalli Kashyap, had to fend off some pressure points, particularly in the second game's first half when she ended up giving away a lot of points on her service, but she eventually prevailed and won the first game narrowly, 21-19.
She totally controlled the momentum going into the second game. She played deft drop shots, powerful smashes, and her signature cross-court winners, which Cheung desperately tried to grab but in vain. With this first-round victory over Cheung, Nehwal improved her head-to-head record against the Hong Kong shuttler, who is ranked 50 in the world, to 4-1.
The Indian, who advanced to the BWF World Championships Round of 32, appeared much quicker in the second game after Kashyap emphasised several crucial points during the game intermission. Nehwal is starting to find her form.
Nehwal recently advanced to the quarterfinals of the Singapore Open 2022, where she defeated He Bing Jiao of China. Nehwal is beginning to resemble her classic self in certain ways, and she has a chance to shock everyone this time around at the Worlds given the absence of PV Sindhu.
She is the only Indian woman remaining in the women's singles competition after Malvika Bansod was eliminated. According to the draw, Nehwal was slated to face Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in the following round. However, as Okuhara, a former World Champion, withdrew from the Championships this time, Nehwal will enter the pre-quarterfinals directly.