SQUASH: World star Tesni Evans wins first pro tournament

Reporter:

Tomos Hughes

RHYL’s golden girl Tesni Evans pulled off the triumph of a lifetime when she three times came from behind to win the prestigious international Sharm El Sheikh crown in a stunning £25,000 dream performance in Egypt at the weekend.

From a back-marker position of seventh seed, the 22-years-old Saints Academy star sensationally beat all-comers to sweep to the first World Professional title of her career.

In front of a hugely partisan crowd cheering home their local heroine Heba El Torky in the final staged on the banks of the glamorous Red Sea resort, world number 31 Tesni eventually emerged victorious at the end of a draining 12-10, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 marathon lasting 67 minutes.

Earlier in the tournament, Tesni had caused upset after upset, toppling No.4 seed and world No.19 Salma Hany Ibrahim of Egypt 3-2 in a monster quarter-final battle that took 85 minutes to resolve, having previously had to save five game balls to even survive the first round.

Losing the first game 11-7, Tesni staged a tremendous comeback to level 14-10 before grabbing the third 11-8 only to lose a pulsating fourth game 12-10 having agonisingly held match ball.

Drawing on all her innate reserves of sheer grit and unrelenting determination, she stormed home 11-7 in the tense decider to book a semi-final crack at another tough Egyptian contender Yathreb Adel. Despite yet again finding herself 2-1 down, she once more overcame the physical, mental and emotional strain to book her first final ticket 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8 in 69 minutes.

The path to glory lay ahead and she took it superbly.

As her elated family back home were toasting her amazing feat, champion Tesni admitted: “When I went 2-1 behind I was really down and couldn’t see a way through.

"So I told myself, this is it. Push. When I got to 2-2, I thought, okay, just one more game. I’m so happy to win this.”

But she was not too euphoric to pay heartfelt tribute to her family, particular dad (and coach) Andrew and also to Welsh Squash, Sports Wales and sponsors Karakal for all their huge encouragement and support.

“They are the best,” she beamed.

Confessed her elated dad: “I can’t say how proud we are. To go to such a large event and win your first world tour title at the fourth attempt and to beat four top drawer Egyptians in 3 five setters is by far her best achievement.

"Her attitude, dedication and effort is just fantastic so no wonder the Evans household is buzzing here!”

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