A Welsh squash player is set to complete a hat-trick of titles at the AJ Bell British Squash Championship in Nottingham.
Cardiff-born Tesni Evans, the World number nine who now lives in North Wales, won the women’s crown in 2018 and 2019, while Joel Making is through to the men’s final this time.
Evans was unable to defender her titles and go for a treble because of injury, but Makin, from West Wales, has taken up the challenge.
He is ranked number 11 in the World, is top seed for the British Championships and takes on England’s James Willstrop, the second seed, in the final.
The women’s final is an all English affair between number one seed Sarah-Jane Perry and Jasmine Hutton.
Haverfordwest-born Makin, who grew up in Aberdare, made his first final with a 3-1 defeat of Adrian Waller (11-7, 10-12, 11-7, 11-2) in the semi-finals.
Joel leads through the third to regain the lead …
 Joel Makin (Wal) v [3/4] Adrian Waller (Eng) 11-7, 10-12, 11-7 … pic.twitter.com/VPRkBsf8WT
— AJ Bell Nationals 2020 (@NationalsSquash) February 15, 2020
“James [Willstrop]has got through the draw unbelievably well and he’s so accurate. He knows how to win these tournaments and I’m excited to see how I get on against him,” said Makin, who is aiming to become the first Welsh male winner. “It would be the biggest title I’ve won so far.”
Defending champion Willstrop, appearing in his 14th nationals semi-final, earned his place in the final by beating George Parker 3-1 (11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7) in 48 minutes.
Willstrop went on a five-point run at 6-6 in the first game against Parker and then finished off the second with three unanswered points.
Parker took the third after trailing 7-5 but couldn’t capitalise on a fast start to the fourth as the guile of Willstrop took the 36-year-old into an 11th Nationals final.
“He’s an immense athlete and I enjoyed the match with him today. I love playing in big matches, I’m addicted to the buzz of these matches,” said the former World number one Willstrop, who lost to Makin at the Tournament of Champions last month.
“Joel will be tough to beat, no question. He’s the form player that’s here.”
In the last 16, Makin overcame a third game scare to beat 16-year-old English player Sam Todd 3-1: 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 11-2.
“Sam was attacking freely and hitting some good winners, so I’m happy to get through that one,” said Makin.
He then defeated Scot Alan Clyne 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 in the quarter-finals.