Copenhagen: Saina Nehwal survived a scare to eventually make her way into the women's singles quarter-finals of the World Badminton Championships at the Ballerup Super Arena here Thursday.
Japanese 13th seed Sayaka Takahashi gave a tough fight to the Indian seventh seed and was almost on her way to the last eight before Saina found her legs just in time to recover from a game down and win the three-game one hour five-minute marathon third round match 14-21, 21-18, 21-12.
Sayaka looked in sublime touch as she easily clinched the first game, leading right from the start. World No.7 Saina looked down and out trailing 8-13 in the second but slowly started getting back into rhythm when the reality of being ousted from the tournament hit her.
The 24-year-old finally levelled the game at 18-all and held on to the next three points to push the match into the decider.
It was quite equal till 7-all in the third game after which the Olympic bronze medallist found the right footing and form to crush her opponent in a matter of minutes and take a 2-0 lead in career meetings over the Japanese.
Saina will be up against World No.1 and top seed Li Xuerui of China next and the reigning Olympic champion has a 7-2 career advantage over the Hyderbadi.
Saina's compatriots P.V. Sindhu (women's singles), Kidambi Srikanth (men's singles) and the men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy will play their respective matches later in the day.