London Olympic bronze medalist started off her campaign in the Japan Open Super Series on a winning note after she dispatched her Thai opponent Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-17, 21-9 in 39 minutes. This was the Indian shuttlers third win against the Thai World No. 25 in as many meetings.
However, Saina will be up against arch-rival and reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin in the women’s singles second round. The Hyderabadi has a 4-3 advantage in career meetings over the Spaniard but the two have not played yet this year.
Earlier in the day, Kidambi Srikanth beat Chinese World No.10 Tian Houwei 21-15, 12-21, 21-11 to progress to the second round of the men's singles competition.