Defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy was among those to begin their competition ©PSA

Defending champion and world number one Mohamed Elshorbagy began with a hard-fought victory over Peruvian rival Diego Elias on the opening day of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Qatar Classic at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex here.

English duo Nick Matthew and James Willstrop were among other winners on the opening day of competition.

Elshorbagy started well but was put under pressure in the second game by an opponent who has risen to a career high world ranking of 27th this month.

Elias, a silver and bronze medallist at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, won the second and fourth games before running out of steam in the fifth.

The Egyptian eventually triumphed 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5 in 63 minutes.

"I have great memories in Qatar, that’s where I won my first World Series title, so it’s a very important place for me," Elshorbagy said.

"It’s very hard to back up tournaments, we just finished the Worlds in Cairo, and win or lose, it’s very hard to back them up. 

"I’m just very happy to get through and live another day in this event. 

"I think it’s just my experience that paid off at the end of the fifth, I got a good start there too."

Nick Matthew (right) was pushed deep before completing a first round victory ©PSA
Nick Matthew (right) was pushed deep before completing a first round victory ©PSA

Three-time world champion Matthew was made to dig even deeper before prevailing over home wildcard Abdulla Mohd Al-Tamimi.

The Englishman was pegged-back from 2-0 up before edging a gripping 71 minute tie, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9.

Willstrop was a more comfortable 7-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-0 winner over fellow countryman Chris Simpson.

Scottish qualifier Alan Clyne produced another of the day's best performances in beating Indian number one Saurav Ghosal, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 11-1.

Several leading contenders have withdrawn from the event.

Egyptian Ramy 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.