New Delhi: With foot injury fully healed, Saurav Ghosal is all geared up to face world`s leading squash players in the coming week`s USD 1,65,000 Punj Llyod PSA Masters where he hopes to better his last edition`s record by reaching the quarterfinals this time.
Ghosal, ranked 26th in the world, has been drawn to meet USA`s Julian Illingworth in the first round of the final PSA World Series event of the year to be played at the Siri Fort Complex from December 12 to 18.
"I have a realistic chance of beating Julian in the first round. Hopefully, I can play well against him and progress to the next round. I am looking forward to the duel. I could have landed much harder draw but I am okay playing against Julian," said Ghosal.
"I have played him twice but on PSA circle, I have played him only once that to three four years back, when I won 3-1. I lost against him 1-3 in August this year in Germany. So it`s a 1-1 record," said Ghosal from Chennai, where he is currently taking part in the senior national squash championship and is scheduled to play his semifinal match on Friday.
Ghosal went down fighting to Egyptian Amr Shabana in the second round last year and the national champion vowed to better his record this time.
"You see that`s the aim every time, you think of bettering your record in every tournament. I have to focus on Julian first and hopefully beat England`s Peter Barker (seeded 6th in the event) in the next round, who has had a pretty good season, and reach the quarterfinals.
"Hopefully, I can play really well against Barker and beat him to advance to the next stage. As of now, I would like to take one match at a time," said the 25-year-old.
Ghosal earlier had recuperated in Leeds, England from a freak injury he suffered in the semifinals of the Irish Open in April this year before making his return to the PSA tour at the Australian Open in August.
After recovering, Ghosal participated in the selective tournaments and the Kolkata racquter, who is now settled in Leeds, said he is enjoying his squash at the moment.
"I am enjoying my game right now after recovering from the injury. My recovery has been pretty good over the last month or so. I hope things will fall in place for me and I can do well in the tournament," he said.
Other Indian in the fray is Siddharth Suchde and Ghosal feels that the Mumbaikar has landed a tough draw.
"Siddharth is playing Egypt`s Karim Darwish who is in very good form. I believe he has got a tough draw but probably playing on his home ground will help his cause. He could make some inroads into Darwish`s game but yes it`s a tough draw."
Some of the top names in the squash world have given this event a miss but Ghosal did not feel that this will take sheen off the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters.
Former World champion Amr Shabana is nursing an injury, Thierry Lincou is resting after a punishing autumn and Stewart Boswell has announced his retirement from the game.
In the absence of these stars, the field will be led by world number one and top seed Nick Matthew of England, James Willstrop (England), Ramy Ashour, Gregory Gaultier and Karim Darwish.
"It`s unfortunate that Shabana is injured and can`t come. Thiery is resting after a pretty long season. Having both of them here would have been great. But there is no dirt of quality as far as players are concerned around next week," said Ghosal.