2022 has not been kind to Malaysian women’s singles shuttler S. Kisona, who will aim to finish the year on a high when she heads to Sydney for the upcoming Australian Open.

The former SEA Games gold medalist saw her career getting derailed this year due to a knee injury that left her on the sidelines for several months.

When she did play, Kisona was far from her best and suffered early exits that left fans calling for her to be dropped from the national team despite being the highest ranked national shuttler.

However, the arrival of James Chua as the new women’s singles coach revived Kisona’s fortunes, with the shuttler herself noting an improvement in her overall game and making two quarter-final appearances in her last three three tournaments.

The Seremban-born skipped the Hylo Open to prepare for Sydney, and there is optimism she could spring a surprise or two.

“Kisona has suffered a lot of injuries this year, so we don’t want to push her too much. The injuries have affected her confidence.

“With the relevant support provided we can now see some improvements, although there is still a lot to improve with regards to her game,” said national coaching director Wong Choong Hann.

Kisona will not have it easy at the Australian Open though, with third seed Pornpawee Chochuwong set to give her an acid test in the opening round.

Two other Malaysians are also in the fray, with Goh Jin Wei taking on India’s Tanya Hemanth, and Soniia Cheah playing Indonesia’s Putri Kusuma Wardani.

The Australian Open is the final event offering qualifying points to the World Tour Finals in December, and as a result the field is a star-studded one.

An Se-young, Ratchanok Intanon and Nozomi Okuhara are among the favourites to win the Super 300 event.