Woman to face top men

LADIES' world champion Reanne Evans has been handed a chance to compete against the leading men after being invited to play at next season's World Open in Glasgow and on the new Pro Tour.

Evans, 24, whose 1,000 prize for winning the world title earlier this month barely covered her expenses, will have to win two matches against professionals to clinch her place in the final stages at Glasgow's SECC in September, where the World Open champion will pocket 100,000.

Evans, from Dudley, said: "It's been a long time coming for the women's game. I've done everything I can in the sport but this will be a great chance, it's what I have worked so hard for."

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Barry Hearn, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, said: "I want to open the door to the talent that's not out there on the main tour. We've got 96 players on the main tour and they'll be allowed to play in every Pro Tour event, but logistically quite a few won't be able to, for whatever reason.

"Some may not want to get out of bed to win 10,000. That's a shame – and a mistake. They'll drop like stones in the ratings if they're not careful. But the shortfall in numbers will be made up by amateurs qualifying and that's where Reanne will get her chance."