Saina Nehwal will be keen to start 2017 with a title as she prepares to face Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong in the final of the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold tournament on Sunday (January 22).
The Indian shuttler had a disappointing last season including her first-round exit from the Rio Olympics. Her injuries also made the fans concerned. Saina, who underwent a knee surgery after the Rio Olympics, though played some competitions late last year, the 26-year-old's fitness level did not look up to the mark.
However, Saina looked decent in the Premier Badminton League earlier in the month and has been impressive in the ongoing Malaysia Masters. Ever before the competition began, Saina was the top favourite to win the title and was given the top seed. So far, she has justified the tag in the competition, thanks to some dominating performances.
Right from the first match, the Olympic medalist has played superbly to reach the finals. The former world No. 1 has not dropped a single game in the competition, even against quality players like Fitriani Fitriani who she beat in the quarterfinals.
If one looks at Saina's overall performance in the Malaysia Masters 2017, she is expected to win the BWF Grand Prix Gold title on Sunday. However, Saina cannot take things too easy against her Thai opponent Pornpawee Chochuwong who defeated second seed Cheung Ngan Yi in the semifinals.
Chochuwong, eight years younger to the ace Indian shuttler, also defeated seventh-seed Chiang Mei Hui in the second round. Can Saina come out with flying colours against the giant-killer?
If Saina finds her rhythm and manages to win the first Grand Prix Gold tournament of 2017, it will do wonders to her confidence before the next BWF Grand Prix competition in India starting on January 24.
How to follow Saina Nehwal vs Pornpawee Chochuwong final live
The match is tentatively expected to start around 4:30 pm Malaysia time (2 pm IST). There is no live TV coverage in India.