Saina Nehwal gets tough draw in Superseries Finals
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Saina Nehwal finds herself clubbed with world number one and Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China in BWF Superseries Finals here though she begins her campaign with a relatively easy match against Minatsu Mitani of Japan on December 11.
World number six Saina, who struggled with injuries this season, has been clubbed in Group B along with Xuerui, world number seven Yeon Ju Bae of Korea and world number 13 Mitani in the December 11-15 year-end tournament to be fought among top eight performers from the 12-event Super Series circuit.
Saina, seeded second in the tournament, faces defending champion Xuerui on December 12 in her second group match before taking on Ju Bae the next day.
Top two players from Group A and B will advance to the semifinals. The winner of Group A will play against the runner-up of Group B while the winner of Group B take on the runner-up of Group A in the semifinals for places in the final.
2010 Commonwealth Gold medallist Saina qualified for the Superseries Finals, which carries a winner's purse of USD 40,000, as the second highest ranked player, thanks to her three semifinal appearances in the Super Series circuit.
Saina said he has prepared well for the tournament.
"I have worked hard and prepared well for the tournament. I feel I am ready to challenge in Kuala Lumpur," said the only Indian player to have qualified for the grand finale.
"Whatever the draw is, there will be no easy matches in the Superseries Finals and I am completely prepared for it. I will take each match as it comes and give my best," said Saina, the 2011 edition runner-up.