With her gritty play and single-mindedness, Saina Nehwal has made her way to the quarter-finals of the London Olympics where she will meet Tine Baun of Denmark on Thursday.
Saina has been in great form so far in the Games, dismantling her opponents in straight sets. But her 33-year-rival in the quarters - Baun - has been a seasoned player and the two-time All England champion may give Saina a run for her money.
Baun reached last eight after her pre-quarters opponent Sayako Sato of Japan retired hurt mid-way through the opening set. Baun was trailing 14-15 when the match was stopped and she was declared the winner.
The Indian shuttler made her way to the quarters after beating Jie Yao of the Netherlands in straight sets on Wednesday.
Interestingly, Saina also faced an older opponent, the 35-year-old Jie Yao of the Netherlands, in her pre-quarters match on Wednesday. The 22-year-old Indian dismantled Yao 21-14, 21-16 in a tussle which lasted 40 minutes though.
After two easy matches in the group stages, it was a good warm up for Saina. But she well might have to stretch herself further if she needs to get the better of the Danish opponent.
But on current form, Saina's chances of making it to the last four look very bright. She has already won three titles this year in which she twice got the better of players above her in rankings.
Saina successfully defended her Swiss Open title by defeating World No. 2 Wang Shixian of China 21-19 21-16 in March. She defeated Thailand’s Ratchanok Inthanon 19-21 21-15 21-10 to lift the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold title in June. And in the same month, she completed her third Indonesia Open title by defeating World No. 3 Li Xuerui of China 13-21, 22-20 21-19.