India's ace shuttler Saina Nehwal stormed into the elimination round of the BWF Super Series Finals with a straight-game victory over Sayaka Sato of Japan in the women's singles in Liuzhou, China on Thursday.
World number four Saina, who had defeated Korean Youn Joo Bae on Wednesday, beat Sayaka 21-16, 21-13 in a 36-minute match to take her record to 2-0 in the tournament so far.
The 21-year-old was beaten by the Japanese early this year at the Korean Open, but Saina was quick to avenge her loss in the Indonesian Open Super Series in June and, after today's victory, holds a 2-1 edge over Sato.
Saina will now face World number three Xin Wang, who has always enjoyed an upper hand against the Indian, defeating her four times. Friday's encounter will decide who will top the Group B.
Saina had lost to Xin in the finals of the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold to finish runner-up. However, she had avenged her loss at the quarterfinals of the Sudirman Cup when she beat Xin - then World number two.
Xin had also beaten Saina in the 2009 and 2010 edition of the Malaysian Open.
Lagging 3-7 in the first round, Saina turned the tables on Sato by catching up at 12-12, before breaking through at 16-all with five straight points.
In the second game, Saina was at her dominating best as she didn't give the Japanese any chance to come back after being locked at 4-4.
The Indian reeled off eight points on the trot to move to 12-4 and held her ground to emerge victorious.
Saina had a highly successful last year, winning a hat-trick of Super Series titles - Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong - beside the Commonwealth Games gold medal and the Indian Grand Prix.
However, so far this year, the Indian has won only the Swiss Grand Prix Gold, besides two runners-up finishes at Malaysia and Indonesia.