Saina Nehwal did not have a blistering start in the ongoing China Open as she had to fight it out in the first two matches of the competition to emerge victorious. With such gritty performances, Saina finally seems to have got her confidence back as she defeated Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in the quarter final and Wang Yihan in the semi finals to reach the final of the prestigious China Open.
Saina's victory over Yihan has come as a huge disappointment for the home fans, who were looking ahead for an all-Chinese final. However, a mouth-watering final has been set with the top seed set to face local favourite, Li Xuerui, who has been in sensational form defeating players such as Sung Ji Hyun and Wang Shixian en route to the finals.
Saina and Xuerui come into the finals with a spring in their stride. Saina has only lost a single set in the competition while Xuerui has an even better record as she has not dropped a single set. Xuerui has been in dominating form of late as also won the Denmark Open last month defeating India's PV Sindhu.
Saina, who is the defending champion, will have her task cut out against Li Xuerui as the Indian shuttler has a poor head-to-head record against the Chinese. In their 11 meetings so far, Saina has only defeated Xuerui twice and lost nine times, which should do the Chinese shuttler's confidence a world of good.
Apart from Xuerui's amazing head-to-head record, the Chinese shuttler will also be egged on by her home crowd, who will want to see their country woman lift the title.
These two shuttlers have only met once this year during the Maybank Malaysia Open and it produced a humdinger of a contest with Xuerui emerging triumphant in a tight three set affair.
After her brilliant display in the world championships, where won the silver medal in August, she has not been able to dazzle in the circuit as she was knocked out in the initial rounds in Japan and Denmark. Hence, this China Open final on Sunday will be her first major final after two months.
Where to watch live
Get the match report here.
Saina Nehwal vs Li Xuerui China Open final live match is scheduled for 2:30pm local time (12pm IST)
The China Open final -- Saina Nehwal vs Li Xuerui -- can be watched live on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports 4HD with live streaming on starsports.com.
Click here for all the live score updates.
*Expected start time could change as per the duration of other matches.