Second seed Saina Nehwal takes on unseeded Malaysian shuttler Lee Ying Ying in the Women's singles second round match of 2017 Thailand Grand Prix Gold in Bangkok on Thursday.
The Indian shuttler heads into the tie after decimating Russia's unseeded shuttler Martina Repiska 21-5, 21-10 in just 25 minutes. On the other hand, Lee opened her campaign with a comfortable 21-13, 21-13 lower-ranked Asty Widyaningrum of Indonesia yesterday.
Saina starts the match as the overwhelming favourite despite the former world number one not being in the best of forms. The London Olympics bronze medallist started the 2017 season on a high with a title at Malaysia Masters, but has not been able to maintain consistency. She reached the quarter-final of All England and India Open. after which first-round exits at Malaysia Superseries Premier and Badminton Asia Championships followed.
Saina's post Rio Olympic season last year was marred by a knee injury, after which she has struggled to get back to her best. However, with Superseries action at Indonesia Open coming up, the 27-year-old would want to get more wins under her belt.
On the other hand, Lee is slowly making the climb from the junior level to the senior level. The 2015 world junior championships silver medallist started the year with a quarter-final appearance at Malaysia Masters and was also part of the Women's singles team at the Robot Asia Mixed Team Championships.
However, the lead up to the tournament for the 19-year-old has not been great as she was dumped out of Smiling Fish International Challenge as early as in the first round last month. With very little experience of playing at the highest-level, Lee faces an uphill task and is unlikely to trouble Saina today.