Karim Abdel Gawad will aim to secure the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Qatar Classic title in his first event since being crowned as world champion.
The Egyptian claimed his maiden PSA Men’s World Championship crown earlier this month after compatriot Ramy Ashour was forced to retire in the final.
Victory helped Gawad rise to third in the men’s world rankings and he will seek to achieve another impressive win when the Qatar Classic - a World Series competition - begins here in Doha tomorrow at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.
He will begin the competition by facing a qualifier in the first round, with the tournament having the added incentive of being one of the eight qualifiers for the season-ending Dubai PSA World Series Finals.
Gawad could make significant ground on several of his rivals at the Qatar Classic, which acts as the third stage, as several major contenders have been forced to withdraw.
Ashour has failed to recover from his hamstring injury, while world number two Gregory Gaultier was forced to withdraw with the Frenchman still suffering with an ankle problem.
Egypt’s Ali Farag, who is also ranked inside the world’s top 10, is out of contention having suffered a hip injury.
World number one Mohamed Elshorbagy is set to compete, with the Egyptian looking to put the disappointment of missing out on a maiden world title behind him.
He will take on Cameron Pilley in the first round, with the Australian looking to make up for his early exit at the World Championships.
Egypt’s Omar Mosaad will take on England’s Daryl Selby in another interesting first round tie, while Egypt’s sixth seed Marwan Elshorbagy will meet a qualifier.