Snooker: Reanne Evans breaks new ground for women

Reanne Evans yesterday became the first woman to qualify for the final stages of one of snooker’s ranking tournaments as she set up a first-round clash with Neil Robertson at next month’s Wuxi Classic.

Evans who, at the age of 27, is already a nine-times winner of the World Ladies Championship, beat Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in Gloucester to book her place in the tournament, which takes place in China from 17 to 23 June. She came from 3-0 behind to defeat Un-Nooh 5-4, with a highest break of 52, and earn a shot at 2010 world champion Robertson, who made a 147 break in his own qualifying match. Now Evans, from Dudley, is guaranteed the biggest cheque of her career.

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She collected just £400 for winning the ladies’ world title last month but will collect a minimum of £3,000 just for appearing in the first round of the season’s first ranking tournament, demonstrating the gulf in rewards between the men’s and women’s games.

“It’s definitely the best result of my career so far,” said Evans. “Hopefully this will show other women what can be done in snooker and there will be more to follow me. It’s a big win for me because I have done it on merit.”