Saina Nehwal defeated Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in her opening round of the Indonesia Open to kick-start her campaign in Jakarta on Tuesday. She beat the former World Champion and eighth seeded 17-21, 21-18, 21-12.
However, B Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa were knocked out of the tournament, suffering a 12-21, 9-21 defeat to Irfan Fadhilah and Weni Anggraini of Indonesia in the mixed doubles opening clash.
The three-time champion Saina, who had a 7-5 head-to-head record against Ratchanok, had a rousing start to the tournament. She led 10-4 at the start of the first game of the match but the Thai player turned around the rest of the game to her advantage, ending up winning it.
The Indian however bounced back in the second game, with a lead in the start. Ratchanok struggled to get the lead back but failed, despite levelling at 16-16.
Saina dominated in the decider game, leading from the start 8-2, not giving any chance to Ratchanok to make a comeback.
The shuttler from Hyderabad, who had slipped out of the top 10 ranks for the first time in the last seven years, will now face another Thai player Nitchaon Jindapol in the second round. If things go her way, Saina is most likely to face the battle against current World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying in the quarterfinals.