Kolkata: India`s number one squash player, Saurav Ghosal will look to defend his title for a record seventh time when he battle it out in the 60th National squash championship, starting at the Calcutta Racket Club here tomorrow.
The women`s field, however, will lack some sheen with big names like Dipika Pallikal and Aparajitha Balamurukan missing out.
Dipika, who recently made headlines after becoming the first Indian to break into the world (WISPA) top 10, is currently playing the World Open in the Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean, while Aparajitha is scheduled to play a tournament in London.
In the duo`s absence, it would be an interesting contest between world No 31 Joshna Chinappa and promising 18-year-old Anaka Alankamony, the reigning Asian Junior champion, who have been seeded first and second respectively.
Anaka is currently on a high having won the Ipswich Open in Queensland in October, her second overall and the first title abroad in the women`s professional squash tour.
Joshna has returned from a seven-month injury layoff, winning Chennai Open in May and IJM Land Penang Open in October as the 26-year-old has jumped to world no 31.
It is expected to be a cakewalk for Ghosal, who has been India`s number one for more than half a decade now, in the men`s section.
The Leeds-based Indian, who recently became the first Indian in the 36-year history of the PSA World Tour`s premier event to reach the pre-quarters by defeating Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad, is looking to end the year on a high to break into top 20.
"I`m 21 in the world this month and am really close to breaking into the top 20. I`m hoping to have a strong end to the year and break that barrier," said Ghosal.
The 26-year-old Ghosal should have it easy considering that the second seeded Harinder Pal Sandhu is ranked more than 50 notches below the world no 21.
India no. 2 and world ranked 45, Siddharth Suchde has pulled out because of an ankle injury, while another local boy, Ramit Tandon, who now studies at Columbia University, is unavailable.
Four qualifiers from a draw of 128 will make the cut in the men`s section main round that will be a draw of 16.