Players and officials pictured before the Saudi Masters Squash Tournament in Riyadh.

Welsh Players Go For Glory In Saudi And South Glam

Tesni Evans, the highest Welsh World-ranked player of all time, competed in the first professional women’s squash tournament Saudi Arabia.

Cardiff-born Tesni, ranked number 12 in the World, defeated England’s Millie Tomlinson in straight games before playing World number six Sarah-Jane Perry in the second round.

They were locked at one game each before Perry edged the third 11-7 and powered to an 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6 victory in 43 minutes.

“It was amazing to be part of a ground-breaking first women’s squash event in Saudi,” said Evans, who reached the World Championship quarter-finals in Manchester.

Welsh squash ace Tesni Evans.

“Thanks to everybody who made it happen. Hopefully I’ll be back next year.

“Sarah-Jane Perry controlled our match and was the better player on the day.”

Egypt’s World number one Nour El Sherbini defeated compatriot Raneem El Welily, the woman she lost to in the final of last month’s Women’s AJ Bell PSA World Championship final.

The championships were held in Riyadh and 22-year-old Sherbini won 11-7, 11-8, 13-11 in 37 minutes.

“After losing in the World Championship final, this match and this victory means a lot to me,” said Sherwin. “I know we will have many more battles.

“I am extremely proud to have been part of this historic tournament. We are blessed to have been part of it.

“My hope is to come back next year to defend my title.”

Runner-up El Welily said: “This was an incredibly important tournament.

“We all want to thank those who have achieved great things by putting on this event. We are grateful to Saudi Arabia for the opportunity to play here and to HRH Princess Reema and Ziad Al-Turki for their efforts in making the event happen.”

Egyptian squash players Nour El Sherbini (left) and Raneem El Welily (right) clashed in the Saudi Masters final.

The tournament is one of many reforms spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that include a lifting of restrictions on women.

Saudi women are, for the first time, allowed to enter sports stadiums to watch football matches between local teams. That follows the lifting of a ban on women driving set to be implemented in June.

The prize fund for the tournament in Riyadh was US$165,000 and Ziad Al Turki, chairman of the Professional Squash Association and a Saudi himself, said on the eve of the tournament: “Things are changing in Saudi and they are changing fast. Win or lose, you players are making history.”

While Tesni continues her bid to move into the World’s top 10, squash players in South Wales are preparing for their own championships.

Cardiff’s Sport Wales National Centre is the venue for the South Glamorgan Championships on Saturday and Sunday.

Teenager Elliot Morris, from Barry, is the top seed and expected to play Liam Eason, from the Rhondda, in Sunday’s final.

Both players are 19-years-old and start their title quest on Saturday. Kieran Hillman and Lewis Poole are the third/fourth seeds.

Hillman is the only player among the top seed to play in the first round. The other three have been awarded byes, while Hillman will play Simon Williams.

In the women’s event Lowri Roberts, aged 20 and from Bodelwyddan, Trefriw, is number one seed and plays Rebecca Baker or Claire Catto in her first match.

Pontypridd’s Ciara Richards, 17, is the second seed and her first game is against Kate Jones or Jill Griffiths.

The South Glamorgan finals will be played on Sunday afternoon.

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