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The presence of Pakistani players is bound create some buzz when top-flight squash returns to the city with the 19th Asian Individual Championship from April 26 to 30. Leading players from across the continent will be taking part in the tournament, which the city last hosted in 2010.
The presence of four Pakistanis in the men's section is an added attraction. Saurav Ghosal, the men's second seed, Joshna Chinappa, who reached the quarterfinals at the recent World Championship, and Dipika Pallikal will spearhead the host nation's challenge. Hong Kong's Max Lee, who has been given top billing in the men's draw, is slated to meet Ghosal in the final on April 30, if the seedings hold. Competition is also likely to come from Mohd. Nafiizwan of Malaysia and Farhan Mehboob, the Pakistan number one, among others. The focus would also be on Chennai-teen Velavan Senthilkumar, who won the British Junior Open earlier this year and reached his maiden PSA Tour event final recently. In the women's event, 14th ranked Joshna Chinappa would be keen to continue her good run from the World Championship and win a maiden Asian senior title. She would be up against Annie Au of Hong Kong, the world No.12 and No.1 seed in the quest for top honours. Pallikal is expected to be among the dark horses as she would be playing at home. According to national head coach Cyrus Poncha the tourney is expected to see intense battles for the winner's trophy given the quality of the field.
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