Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal is set to lock horns with world number one Li Xuerui in the quarterfinals of the Indonesia Open Superseries on Friday.
Saina faced no problems in overcoming the second round hurdle against Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland. The eighth seeded overpowered her Scottish opponent in straight sets to improve her career head-to-head record against Gilmour to 3-0.
The two-time winner Saina took just 37 minutes to oust her younger counterpart 21-17, 21-9. Earlier, Saina had defeated Thailand's Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the opening rubber.
After relatively easy outing against world number 17, Saina has a colossal task in front to defeat the top-seed Chinese. The defending champion also had an easy outing against qualifier Adrianti Firdasari and she took just 32 minutes on her way to a 21-12, 21-19 victory.
The London Olympics bronze medallist has a 2-6 win loss record against the three-time Indonesia Open champion. Li Xuerui, in their most recent clash in Superseries Finals, thrashed the highest-ranked Indian in straight sets.
Saina's most recent victory against the Olympic Champion came in the Indonesia Open final, when she rallied back to defeat the Chinese in a hard-fought encounter to clinch the title.
Meanwhile, India's challenge in the doubles event came to an end after 2010 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa crashed out of the tournament in the second round.
The South Korean pair of Ye Na Jang and So Young Kim defeated their Indian counterparts in a hard-fought encounter. Jwala-Ashwini after losing the opening game, rallied back to force the decider, but the South Koreans hung on to clinch the tie in 45 minutes.
Saina is now the only Indian left in the competition, after star shuttler PV Sindhu and male counterparts K Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap failed to cross the first round hurdle, while HS Prannoy and Sourabh Varma couldn't qualify for the main round.
In other second round matches, world number two Chen Long survived early scare and prevailed over Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 23-25, 21-16, 22-20 in one hour and 10 minutes. On the other hand, top-seeded Lee Chong Wei easily dispatched Brice Leverdez of France 21-4, 21-16.
Kenichi Togo of Japan cruised into the last-eight with an easy 21-18 21-15 victory over Chong Wei Feng to book quarterfinals clash with Hu Yun.
Where to Watch Live
The day's play is scheduled for a 12:00 pm IST (4:00 am GMT) start. The match between Li Xuerui and Saina Nehwal will start at 6:30 pm IST (1:00 pm GMT) start, with live coverage on Star Sports 2 in India. The matches can be watched via live streaming option HERE or see the live scores HERE.