Following back-to-back victories in their first two ties, high-flying Pune Pistons would be aiming to provide stiff competition to the Saina Nehwal-spearheaded Hyderabad Hotshots in their Indian Badminton League contest here on Monday.
Pistons' come-from-behind victory over Mumbai Masters in their Maharashtra state Derby clash at Lucknow last night should be a great morale-booster for the league toppers ahead of their face-off against Saina's Hotshots at the National Sports Club of India stadium courts in Worli.
Julinane Schenk, the German powerhouse who, at number four, is one rung below Saina in the world badminton women's singles rankings, looms as a major threat to the Hotshots who had beaten Awadhe Warriors 3-2 in their opening clash at Delhi on August 15.
The German player has won both her singles ties quite easily thus far while Saina too, after her disappointments in the World Championships in China held prior to the start of the million-dollar IBL, has shown she is the woman to beat in home environs.
The expected match-up between these two top women's players in the world would be the highlight of the tie and should thrill the capacity crowd in the newly-built arena.
Hotshots would be eager to put behind their 2-3 reversal at the hands of Delhi Smashers last night in Lucknow after they squandered a commanding 2-0 advantage.
Saina's continued good form after the World Championship flop-show would be crucial for the Hotshots who have been well-served by their left-handed men's singles player S Tanongsak of Thailand, the world no.19 and semi-finalist at the last All England Championships.
The Thai has been preferred as their first singles player to the retired (from international events) former World and Olympic Champion Taufik Hidayat by the Hotshots and he has delivered the goods though he had to put his best foot forward against India's Sai Praneeth, representing Krissh Delhi Smashers on Saturday.