Saina Nehwal produced a fine performance to kick-off her BWF World Championships campaign with a straight game win over Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi in Tokyo on Tuesday. The former world number one took 38 minutes to dispatch Ngan Yi 21-19 21-9 in the opening round.
The 32-year-old, who has a silver (2015) and bronze (2017) from the Worlds, thus moved into the pre-quarterfinals as her second-round opponent, world no. 6 Nozomi Okuhara, pulled out of the tournament due to an injury, giving the Indian a bye. She will face the winner of the tie between Yvonne Li of Germany and Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
The women's doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand also made a winning start, inflicting a 21-11 21-13 defeat on Malaysian pair Yeen Yuan Low and Valeree Siow.
Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam also progressed to the second round in women's doubles after beating the Italian duo of Martina Corsini and Judith Mair 21-8 21-14 in 30 minutes.
However, it was the end of the road for mixed doubles pair Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan as they went down 10-21 21-23 to Gregory Mairs and Jenny Moore of England. Tanisha Crasto and Ishaan Bhatnagar also exited the mixed doubles event, losing 14-21 17-21 to 14th seeds Supak Jomkoh and Supissara Paewsampran of Thailand.
The men's doubles pair of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala also lost 14-21 18-21 to France's Fabien Delrue and William Villeger.
Earlier, Saina had showed signs of regaining her form during her stunning win over He Bingjiao of China en route her first quarterfinal appearance in 16 months at Singapore Open in July.
She dished out another gritty show on Tuesday as she recovered from 4-7 down to lead 12-11 just after the interval.
Fighting for each point, Saina kept herself in contention as she maintained a narrow one-point lead over Ngan Yi, before moving ahead with the two crucial points at 19-19 to pocket the opening game.
Saina then switched gears in the second game as Ngan Yi struggled. Soon, the Indian moved to an 11-6 advantage at the interval before marching ahead to eventually seal the contest without much fuss.