Saina Nehwal
Will Saina be able to get past the quarter-final hurdle in Birmingham? Reuters

Eighth seed Saina Nehwal takes on third seed Sung Ji Hyun in the Women's singles quarter-final of 2017 All England Championships at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Friday.

The Indian shuttler faced a stiff test as early as in the opening round against defending champion Nozomi Okuhara but she was able to outclass the Japanese shuttler in straight games. The world number 10 then decimated Germany's Fabienne Deprez 21-18, 21-10 in just 35 minutes to book a place in the last-eight round. On the other hand, Sung was pushed to the limits by Hong Kong shuttler Yip Pui Yin, who forced a decider after winning the first game yesterday.

After making an unsuccessful return from a long injury-layoff last year at the Macau Open, Saina began the new season on a high by winning the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold event in January. Despite not being fully fit, the 2015 runner-up also was part of cash-rich Premier Badminton League in January, in which she defeated Sung in a 11x3 match.

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Saina has enjoyed quite a lot of success against the South Korean shuttler in the past as well. The only time Sung defeated the former in their six meetings so far was at Denmark Open in 2013 and their recent meeting was at the 2016 Indian Open.

While Sung will be hoping to live up to the expectation of being one of the top three seeds at the tournament, all eyes will be on Saina's fitness when she faces the first stern test of what has been a successful year so far for the Indian shuttler. Given their current form, neither of them would want to settle for anything less than a last-four appearance here.

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