New Delhi: Saurav Ghosal couldn`t help but rue his luck as India`s top ranked player has been landed a tough first round draw, against Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, in the USD 115,000 ROWE British Grand Prix starting on Monday in Manchester.
Unseeded Ghosal, who led India to top-8 finish at the recently concluded World Men`s Team Championship in Germany, will be facing sixth seed Gaultier at the National Squash Centre, and will have to be at his best if he is to improve on his last edition`s quarter-final performance in the biggest squash event of this year.
"My draw this year isn`t as favourable as it was last year. Thus, it is going to be hard to improve on my showing from my last year. However, I`m going to go into my match with a positive attitude and look to win," Ghosal told PTI from
"Gregory is one of the best players in the world and beating him is an extremely tough proposition. I hope I can play really well and win but Gregory, world ranked 6th, definitely goes into the match as the clear favourite.
"I`m excited to play Gregory and test myself against the very best. I will learn a lot no matter what. I have always wanted to compete against the best players and this is another opportunity for me," the world number 26 added.
If Ghosal manages to get past Gaultier, he could face local challenger Daryl Selby in the second round.
"I`m not really past my 1st round just yet, but Daryl Selby is a very good player himself. If I do get past Greg, then I could have an interesting match with Daryl," said the Kolkata pro.
The British Grand Prix, the fourth of nine PSA World Series championships in 2011 - and the biggest event to be staged in the UK this year - has attracted a star-studded field featuring 16 of the world`s top 20 players, including six former world number ones.
Home interest will be high - led by Sheffield`s world number one Nick Matthew, the top seed, and fellow Yorkshireman and world No. 4 James Willstrop. The English pair contested last year`s Commonwealth Games final in Delhi, and then the World Open climax in Saudi Arabia.
The Egyptians will pose problems with title-holder Ramy Ashour, ranked two in the world, and Cairo-based third seed Karim Darwish, who reached the World Open final at the National Squash Centre in 2008, in sensational form.
Ghosal, who is battling to rise in rankings after a foot injury he suffered during the semifinal of the Irish Open in April, said he has been working hard to rediscover his touch.
"My foot feels fine and it hasn`t flared up since I got back after my injury. I`ve worked hard to strengthen it and I hope it doesn`t trouble me in the future."
Another Indian, Siddharth Suchde tried his luck in the qualifiers, but failed to get past Germany`s Simon Rosner in the qualifying finals to eventually bow out of the event. He lost 9-11 7-11 8-11 in 43 minutes.
Suchde had defeated local challenger Declan James in the first qualifying round.
"Suchde beat Declan James 3-0 yesterday and lost to Simon in the qualifying finals today. Simon was a formidable opponent but Siddharth played well," said Ghosal.
About upcoming tournaments, he said, "After the British Grand Prix, I am off to Philadelphia to play the US Open and then onto San Fransisco for the Netsuite Open."