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BWF Toyota Thailand Open 2021: Saina Nehwal vs Ratchanok Intanon

After the successful completion of the Yonex Thailand Open where Carolina Marin emerged as the champion, we now head forward to the Toyota Thailand Open 2021 where former World number 1, Saina Nehwal faces World number 5, Ratchanok Intanon in the first round of the tournament on 19th January.

Japanese shuttlers like Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara will be part of this event after missing the previous tournament due to coronavirus concerns.

The former World number 1, Saina Nehwal faces World number 5, Ratchanok Intanon in the first round of the tournament.

Saina lost in the second round of the Thailand Open to homegirl, Busanan Ongbamrungphan in three games that lasted 68 minutes. Busanan has become the Indian's nemesis as Saina has lost four matches in a row to her. 

On the other hand, Intanon lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament to South Korean player, An Se Young 22-20 21-12. The Thai shuttler struggled against Young's improved pace of shotmaking. She tried hard with her light footwork and aggressive hitting but it was just not her day.

Head to Head record

Saina leads the head to head record 11-5 against Intanon. The Indian has also won the last 5 matches against the fourth seed. 

Game Analysis

Saina's fighting qualities will come to the fore in the match against Intanon. Her mental toughness and grit will have to be at her best. The Indian shuttler has to play an attacking game with a mix of powerful smashes, crosscourt slices and some clever angled shots. 

Intanon being a creative tactician can be unstoppable when she gets going. But on her off day, she can commit a lot of unforced errors leading to a change in momentum. 

The Thai player will depend on her immaculate stroke-making that comes with a combination of power and precision. She can cross the line with her controlled aggression and calmness.

It will surely be a see-saw battle between these two champions as they look to outsmart each other with their respective game plans. Intanon is strong at the net and can trouble Saina with her variety of shots and deception. Handling pressure will be the key for Saina as she aims for a deep run in this tournament.

Prediction - Saina Nehwal to win in three games 

Featured Image Credits - Getty Images 

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