The first match of the 2020 Manchester Open to go all the way to five games saw last year’s runner-up Tesni Evans narrowly avoid falling to a big upset against World No.26 Zeina Mickawy.
Evans, who had won both of their previous PSA World Tour encounters, took a 2-0 lead after following up a tie-break victory in a closely contested opening game with a comfortable triumph in the second.
But she soon began to tire and Mickawy took full advantage of the drop in intensity as she came back to level the scores against an increasingly frustrated Evans.
There were some scrappy periods of play in the latter stages of the match and it was nip and tuck in the decider, but Evans held her nerve to dodge what would have been the biggest upset of the tournament so far.
“I’m relieved and shaky, I don’t know what that was,” said Evans afterwards.
“It was so up and down and she was taking my rhythm all the time and I hate that because I like to play with a lot of rhythm. It was really difficult, she played really well and was hitting shots from everywhere. I’m not really sure how I won but I’ll take that today and hopefully try and improve as the week goes on.
“I was trying to gee myself up, without the crowd it’s so different and I really enjoy having a crowd around to gee me up if I’m down. I had to get myself going at 2-2 because I was as flat as a pancake after that fourth game.
“I told myself to show how much I wanted it and at times I just sat back off her and let her take control of it. I took myself away and tried to give myself a good talking to. If someone was there talking to me they would give me a right load of abuse, so I tried to show myself just how much I wanted to win that and I think that just took me over at the end.”
Evans will go up against England’s Alison Waters for a place in the quarter-finals.
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-2: 14-12, 11-4, 5-11, 4-11, 11-9 (60m)