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Evans and Matthew Prevail in British Nationals

Women’s World No.12 Tesni Evans last night became the first Welsh player ever to become British Nationals Champion as World No.8 Nick Matthew lifted a record 10th Nationals crown in the men’s event.

Evans had ended World No.4 Laura Massaro’s title defence in the semi-finals and was in irresistible form against four-time champion Alison Waters in the title decider, converting from 10-3 up in the opening game to take the lead, before storming 8-3 ahead in the second.

Waters worked her way back to 9-9, but an error proved to be her undoing as Evans went game ball up before coming out on top in a bruising rally to double her advantage.

And Evans wasn’t to be denied in the third either as she raced away to a 10-6 lead and she put away her first match ball to lift her maiden British Nationals title.

Tesni Evans celebrates after beating Alison Waters

“I tried to say I was going into the match not feeling any pressure, but I did, I was very nervous,” Evans said afterwards.

“But I’m proud with how I played the match and even prouder to become the first ever Welsh winner of the British Nationals!”

It was an all-Yorkshire battle in the men’s final as English stalwarts Nick Matthew and James Willstrop clashed in their 62nd meeting in all competitions, with Matthew leading the head-to-head record 48-13 coming into the match.

The two rivals had contested five British Nationals finals previously – with Matthew winning all three – and the veteran 37-year-old went two games up, only to see Willstrop make the most of a strong start in the third to claw a game back.

Matthew was back in the ascendancy though in the fourth and he pulled away to complete an 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6 victory to capture his 7th successive British Nationals crown.

Nick Matthew with the men's trophy

“I didn’t think I would get one to be honest,” said Matthew.

“I had three goals this year, one of them was to win the World Championships in December and the second was to try and get a 10th National title.

“We are both tough and that is why we have had such a good rivalry over the years.”

Result – Final: 2018 Women’s British Squash Nationals
¾ Tesni Evans (Wal) bt ¾ Alison Waters (Eng) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (43m)

Result – Final: 2018 Men’s British Squash Nationals

[1] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt [2] James Willstrop (Eng) 3-1: 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6 (69m)

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