British squash champion Tesni Evans, the Wales number one, took on the World’s best squash player in Cairo this evening (Sunday).
Cardiff-born Evans, ranked World number nine, faced Egypt’s Raneem El Welily – and gave her opponent some uncomfortable moments before losing 11-6, 11-4.
The result was a straight games win for El Wellily, who admitted: “In the second Tesni found a pace that suited her more than it suited me,” said the World number one.
“I had to up that a little bit and push myself to make things a bit quicker.”
Evans now plays close pal Joelle King, a New Zealander who is at number five in the rankings one Monday.
The final group match for the Wales ace is against fourth-ranked Camille Serme (France) on Wednesday.
Evans, 26, says qualifying for the PSA World Tour finals is the ‘icing on the cake’ at the end of her most successful season.
The final tournament of 2018-19 is only open to the leading players in World squash and Evans said: “Qualifying shows my consistency over the whole year.
“It’s a big deal for me. Massive.”
Evans is the lowest ranked player in the event and opened with what was surely her toughest test.
But her group games against British Open runner-up Serme and Hong Kong Open winner King are going to be major tests.
“It’s a tough week for me,” says Evans, a bronze medallist for Wales at the 2018 Commonwealth Games..
Really disappointed to be off so quickly tonight! Not how i wanted to start this week but Raneem too good! Looking forward to another go tomorrow vs Joelle King #WorldTourFinals https://t.co/X4yDL94P0t
— Tesni Evans (@tesnievans) June 9, 2019
“I want to just perform at my best and hopefully get some wins out there.”
El Welily overcame Evans in two-games in the opening clash at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals.
All group matches are played on a best-of-three games with the top two from each four-player group progressing to the knockout semi-finals and beyond.
El Welily, named the PSA Women’s Player of the Year, was in full flow in the opening game and did not allow Evans a chance in an 11-4 success.
Evans changed her game plan in the second to attack more and took the lead for the first time, but El Welily soon countered to come back and was able to close out an 11-4, 11-6 win in 18 minutes and take the full four points on offer.
“As Egyptians we are lucky to be playing the last tournament at home and not having to travel on a plane,” said El Welily.
“We are very lucky to be able to play in front of our home crowd and playing in a tournament where my family and coaches can watch.”