Second seed Saina Nehwal takes on fourth seed Busanan Ongbamrunphan in the Women's singles semi-final of 2017 Thailand Open on Saturday.
The world number 11 Indian shuttler prevailed in a hard-fought quarter-final encounter against world number 132 Haruko Suzuki yesterday. Saina survived a scare when she lost the second game and fought back to win the tie 21-15, 20-22, 21-11 in an hour and nine minutes.
On the other hand, world number 13 Ongbamrunphan decimated Thailand's Pattarasuda Chaiwan 21-16, 21-12 in her quarter-final outing yesterday.
Saina starts the tie as favourite, given her vast experience of playing in the knockout stages of big tournaments. However, the London Olympic bronze medallist has not had a good season, barring her Malaysia Masters win earlier this year.
The former world number one is struggling to get back to her best following her return from knee injury. While first-round exits at Malaysia Masters and Badminton Asia Championships would have dented her confidence, a good campaign in the ongoing tournament will help her ahead of the upcoming Indonesia Open, in which she faces Ratchanok Intanon in the opneing round.
With a possible final meeting against Intanon on the cards, the 2013 champion will be geared up to brush aside last year's runner-up Ongbamrunphan's challenge, but Saina has to be at her best to do so.
Meanwhile, Ongbamrunphan, who won the Thailand Masters in February, has also faced a dip in form with early exits at the season's Superseries tournaments and at Badminton Asia Championships. However, having not lost a game yet in the ongoing tournament, the 21-year-old will be determined to come up with stiff fight against Saina later today.
India: Star Sports
Singapore: Hub Sports
Malaysia: Astro Supersport