The main draws of the Assore Central Gauteng Open, PSA M5 & W5 tournaments see Shehab Essam and Cheyna Tucker, respectively, named the top seeds, with the Men’s draw beginning on Monday April 18 and the Women’s event getting under way a day later.
Essam lifted his maiden PSA World Tour title three months ago at the Savcor Finnish Open and has appeared at just one tournament since then, which resulted in a first round defeat against Mohamed Reda in the Qatar Circuit III.
The World No.93 has established himself as a bonafide top 100 player in recent months and the 20-year-old will be hoping to add this title to a burgeoning career.
Home player Ruan Olivier will stand between Essam and a place in round two as he looks to make a winning start to his campaign.
Austria’s Aqeel Rehman is seeded to meet Essam in the final and the 30-year-old is on the hunt for a first PSA World Tour title since 2014 where he prevailed at the Caldense International Squash Championship.
Rehman, whose last final appearance was at the Pilatus Cup last year, achieved a quarter-final finish at the Austrian Open a fortnight ago and will be looking to go up a gear in Johannesburg. Rehman gets his tournament off to a start against Zwelake Makgalemele.
World No.114 Leandro Romiglio is also in the battle for honours in South Africa and gets his title ambitions under way against Nigeria’s Adewale Amao.
Romiglio, a 2015 PanAmerican Games semi-finalist, has a solitary PSA World Tour title to his name at present with victory in September’s BDO Northfield Cup but he has been through some mixed form since then, with three successive first round defeats leading up to this tournament. However, Romiglio is a talented player and could be a dark horse for the title if he plays to his full potential.
Canada’s Matthew Serediak is seeded fourth and will be doing his utmost to make an impact in the latter stages. The World No.139 has only made it to the quarter-final stage or beyond in one of his last 21 PSA World Tour events, but the 31-year-old’s experience could see him make a surprise title charge this time around. Serediak will take on Egypt’s Ahmed Effat Ashoush in the first round.
In the Women’s event, Tucker will be aiming to improve on the semi-final finish she managed here last year as she tops a competitive draw.
The World No.69 was unlucky to lose out in five to fellow South African Alexandra Fuller in the last four in 2015 but is seeded first as she gears up for an assault on the crown on home soil and she will line up against compatriot Kacey-Leigh Dodd.
Like Tucker, last year’s quarter-finalist Milnay Louw will be hoping for greater things as she looks to rediscover the kind of form that took her to a series of semi-final and quarter-final finishes last year.
Louw is guaranteed to meet a South African in every round up until the final, if she makes it that far, with Mariska Wiese set to be her first opponent.
Main Draw: PSA M5, Assore Central Gauteng Open, Johannesburg, South Africa
 Shehab Essam (EGY) v Ruan Olivier (RSA)
Andrew Forrest (NAM) v [Q] Craig Van Der Wath (RSA)
Gareth Naidoo (RSA) v [WC] Kyle Maree (RSA)
[Q] Makoshonke Ntuli (RSA) v  Jean-Pierre Brits (RSA)
 Christo Potgieter (RSA) v Ahmed Al Kiremli (IRQ)
[L] Wayne Sithole (RSA) v [L] Devon Hendrikse (RSA)
Moses Durosinmi (NGR) v [Q] Zuko Kubukeli (RSA)
Adewale Amao (NGR) v  Leandro Romiglio (ARG)
 Matthew Serediak (CAN) v Ahmed Effat Ashoush (EGY)
[L] Andrew Martin (RSA) v [Q] Garren Kent (RSA)
[Q] Dylan Groenewald (RSA) W/O
Ahmad Al-Mudhaf (KUW) v  Mark Broekman (ENG)
 Ben Coates (ENG) v Vincent Droesbeke (FRA)
SeungYong Yoo (KOR) v [Q] Jarryd Carter (RSA)
Hesham Mohamed Aly (EGY) v [Q] Callan Hall (RSA)
[Q] Zwelake Makgalemele (RSA) v  Aqeel Rehman (AUT)
Main Draw: PSA W5, Assore Central Gauteng Open, Johannesburg, South Africa
 Cheyna Tucker (RSA) v [L] Kacey-Leigh Dodd (RSA)
[Q] Robyn Boy (RSA) v  Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
 Yemisi Olatunji (NGR) v [L] Michelle Kohne (RSA)
[L] Alexa Pienaar (RSA) v  Lume Landman (RSA)
 Elani Landman (RSA) v [Q] Casey Preece (RSA)
[L] Bongi Seroto (RSA) v [L] Angie Clifton-Parks (RSA)
[L] Makgosi Peloakgosi (RSA) v [Q] Megan Page (RSA)
[Q] Mariska Wiese (RSA) v  Milnay Louw (RSA)