Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal will be looking to go one step further when this year’s CCI International JSW ISC tournament gets underway in Mumbai on November 24, a year on after he lost out to World No.15 Borja Golan in last year’s final.
The 30-year-old started the season brightly, reaching the semi-final stage of September’s Macau Open, but has struggled for form and fitness in the intervening months, with first round defeats at the NetSuite Open and, most recently, the Qatar Classic halting his attempts to break back into the world’s top 20.
However, with his home fans behind him, Ghosal will once again be one of the contenders for the title this year and, with Spaniard Golan not featuring in this tournament, is likely to find Egyptian Fares Dessouky standing between him and a first PSA World Tour title in 14 months.
Top seed Dessouky made it to the first round of the quarter-final of the PSA Men’s World Championship earlier this month, and lines up against experienced Finnish campaigner Olli Tuominen in the first round.
Dessouky’s fellow Egyptian and World No.21 Mohamed Abouelghar is this year’s number two seed, and he will look to start his own run to the final – where he is seeded to meet Dessouky – against Tsz Fung Yip of Hong Kong in round one.
Alongside Ghosal, the only other players to be representing India on home turf are wildcard Vikram Malhotra and qualifier Mahesh Mangaonkar.
Malhotra was born in Mumbai, but now lives and trains in Hartford, Connecticut in the Unied States. He didn’t get through the qualifying rounds last year, so will be looking to cause an upset against the third and final Egyptian at the tournament, Mohamed Reda.
Mangaonkar, meanwhile, will look to cause a huge upset against Scotland’s Alan Clyne in his first round encounter – with Clyne ending Ghosal’s Qatar Classic campaign just a week previously.
Englishman Chris Simpson will be looking to lead the way for the European participants when he faces Campbell Grayson in round one in what is his first appearance at the CCI International.
The World No.20 is yet to win a PSA M50 title, with his last piece of silverware coming at the IG Open de Paris back in May, but is one of the favourites in Mumbai after breaking into the world’s top 20 for the first time since 2014 earlier this month.
Main Draw – First Round: 2016 CCI International JSW ISC
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
[Q] Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) v  Alan Clyne (SCO)
 Lucas Serme (FRA) v [Q] Joel Makin (WAL)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) v  Chris Simpson (ENG)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Q] Ivan Yuen (MAS)
[Q] Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) v  Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
 Mohamed Reda (EGY) v [WC] Vikram Malhotra (IND)
Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v  Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
By Sam Allsop