India's best bet for a medal in the Badminton World Championships, Saina Nehwal, will open her campaign against Natalia Perminova of Russia in the second round at the Ballerup Super Arena today in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The seventh-seeded Saina will start as the favourite against her 38th-ranked opponent. This is their second meeting and the Indian shuttler thrashed Natalia in straight games, when they last met in the Indian Grand Prix earlier this year.
Saina has received a tough draw, though, as she is expected to face tough Chinese opponents from the third round onwards. The world number seven could potentially play 12th seed Han Li in the third round and world number one Li Xuerui in the quarterfinals.
"It is a tough draw but I hope to do well," Saina said. "I will try to do well this time. I have trained well. It should be a good tournament for me."
The London Olympics bronze medallist opted to skip the Glasgow Commonwealth Games to keep herself fit for the Worlds.
She sustained a leg injury in the Australian Open Superseries in June but the Hyderabadi has recovered from that niggle and is aiming for her maiden podium in the Championships.
"Till the end of July, I had not fully recovered from the injury which I sustained after Australian Open," Saina insisted. "This has affected my training but in the last three weeks, I have caught up and feel I will do my best in this tournament."
Meanwhile, in the men's singles, Kidambi Srikanth will open his campaign against Iztok Utrosa of Russia. Srikanth is expected to clear the first round hurdle against the world number 91 Utrosa.
In the mixed doubles event, Aparna Balan and Arun Vishnu will lock horns with Germany's Birgit Michels and Michael Fuchs in the second round. Aparna and Vishnu thrashed their first round opponents in straight games and will be looking to continue their fine form against the German duo.
The men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will start their campaign against Russia's Nikita Khakimov and Vasily Kuznetsov.
Singles player Ajay Jayaram, who is making a comeback from a long injury lay-off, has received a walkover against Japanese Kenichi Togo in the opening round. In the second round, he will either face Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk or Kieran Merrilees of Scotland.
Schedule of Play:
Women's Singles: Saina Nehwal vs Natalia Perminova starts 5:30 pm IST
Mixed Doubles: Vishnu/Aparna vs Michels/Fuchs starts 7:00 pm IST
Men's Singles: Kidambi Srikanth vs Iztok Utrosa starts 7:45 pm IST
Men's Doubles: Attri/Reddy vs Khakimov/Kuznetsov starts 12:15 am IST
Where to Watch Live
The day's play is scheduled for a 1:00 pm IST (10:00 am CEST, 7:30 am GMT) start, with live coverage on Star Sports 4 in India. The matches can be watched via live streaming option HERE or stream the action online HERE. The live match updates are available HERE.