Three-time champion Saina Nehwal begins her Indonesia Open 2017 campaign against eighth seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the Women's singles first round at the Jakarta Convention Center on Tuesday.
Saina is heading into the tournament on the back of a semi-final exit at Thailand Open earlier this month following her shock straight games loss to Busanan Ongbamrungphan. On the other hand, 2015 champion Intanon won the said Grand Prix Gold tournament at home, beating the Saina-slayer in the title match.
Saina is on a comeback run following her recovery from a knee injury that hampered her post Rio Olympic-season in 2016. The London Olympic bronze medallist though opened her 2017 season on a high with a Grand Prix Gold at Malaysia Masters, but has not found much success since.
The Indian shuttler failed to make a mark at All England and India Open and went on to face first-round exits at Malaysia Open and Badminton Asia Championships. However, Saina holds a 7-5 head-to-head record over Intanon and also won their last year's marathon meeting at Australian Open 28-26, 21-16.
Intanon has also not been in the best of forms and the former world number one finally ended her year-long title drought on home soil earlier this month. After a solid start to the season - a runner-up finish at All England - Intanon has struggled to be consistent.
Given their recent form, there is nothing much to separate the two champion shuttlers and the result of the fixture will depend on who handles the pressure better.