It took everything she had, but Welshwoman Tesni Evans is into the quarter-finals of the Manchester Open, after fighting back from saving match balls to defeat England’s Alison Waters.
Evans made the final of this event last year, and she started the better of the two Brits in this one. Waters saved game ball, but the World No.9, who is playing for the first time since injuring her ankle at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in January, took the first 11-5.
The second was a carbon copy, only in reverse. Evans saved a single game ball, before the Englishwoman tied the match thanks to the same scoreline. The Welsh No.1 looked like she had taken control thanks to winning the third, but once again Waters fought back.
The former World No.3 allowed Evans to take just three points in the fourth game as she levelled the match for a second time. She then had match balls in the decider, but Evans saved both, before going on to win it at the first attempt.
“I think I got away with one there. I am a bit lucky that I snuck that at the end. She outplayed me for most of the match, especially in the two games she won.
It was a matter of either being too passive or too aggressive and I couldn’t find the middle ground. I just had to keep fighting and be a bit brave at the end. I didn’t want to come off and regret it really.
“It is not normally the way I played. Maybe a lack of confidence in myself from having not played for such a long time. At that stage of the match, I didn’t want to regret it. Some days it comes off and some days it doesn’t.
“I have so much respect for Alison, we are really good friends off the court. We have been having some pretty similar practice matches so it felt the same. She is a legend, she has been out here for so long and she continues to get better and better. I have so much respect for her and I am sure that won’t be the last time we have a battle.”
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 3-2: 11-5, 5-11, 11-7, 3-11, 13-11 (61m)