Indian star Saina Nehwal found it shockingly difficult to get past Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in her inaugral group game of the BWF World Superseries Finals on Wednesday. The star Indian shuttler lost in straight sets 21-14 21-6 at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai.
Saina will nevertheless have to produce a good show on Thursday against the current world number 1 in women's badminton, Carolina Marin. On paper, the Spaniard looks the stronger opponent by far, and it will be a massively difficult challenge for the Indian.
Saina may have a better head-to-head record against Marin, but this year, the Spaniard has produced a lot of good displays to reach the top. The 22-year-old won the All England Open, the Malaysian Open, the French Open, the Australian Open, the Hong Kong Open, as well as the World Championships this year.
Marin beat Saina in the final of the World Championships 2015 with a 21-16 21-19 score.
In the men's singles match, India's Kidambi Srikanth, who also lost his opening game of the tournament against Kento Momota of Japan yesterday with a 21-16 21-16 score, will be facing Denmark's Victor Axelsen today.
Axelsen has never been able to defeat Srikanth in the two occasions they have faced each other on court.
Where to watch the action
Catch the Indians in action from the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai 2:30 pm IST onwards.
Men's singles: Kidambi Srikanth vs Victor Axelsen is the fifth game of the day, so the match could be set for a start sometime around 4pm IST onwards.
Women's singles: Saina Nehwal vs Carolina Marin is the eighth game of the day, so expect the match to take place sometime around 6pm IST onwards.
The live score card of the all the matches can also be found HERE.
Online streaming is also available for some countries on YouTube (not in India).