Saina Nehwal renews the 'Saina vs China' rivalry on Friday night when she takes on Shixian Wang in the quarter-finals of the All England Open Badminton Championships, and if she gets past the 2011 champion, it will be the first time since 1996 that the elite tournament won't have any Chinese player in the women's singles semi-finals.
Saina became the hot favourite to win her maiden All England title after when London Olympics gold medallist Li Xuerui and world champion Yihan Wang were eliminated in the first round itself. Going in with a positive head-to-head record against Wang, Saina has every reason to be upbeat about her chances.
Before today's quarter-final, Saina and Wang have met on four occasions - with the world No. 3 Indian winning thrice. Her only loss against Wang was way back in 2010.
A file photo of ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal (Getty Images)
Saina, though, didn't have a smooth start to her campaign in Birmingham as she was given a scare by Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand in the first round. However, she returned to her dominating self with an easy win over Balaetrix Manuputi of Indonesia in the pre-quarters.
Saina's knee, which has troubled her since she won the Olympic bronze in London, is holding up well as the Indian has exhibited excellent court coverage in the earlier rounds.
Club all of the above together, and it certainly presents Saina her best chance to add an All England title to her CV.