Twelve-time Women’s World Champion Reanne Evans aims to pull off a sensational upset when she faces Shaun Murphy on her Champion of Champions debut in Coventry on Monday.
Evans, who has dominated women’s snooker for the past decade, has been rewarded with a place in the elite 16-player invitational for the first time following her win over Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai in this year’s world final.
The 34-year-old is no stranger to taking on the sport’s elite male players, having notably beaten Finland’s Robin Hull in the qualifying rounds of the 2017 World Championship before narrowly losing out to Lee Walker.
She warmed up for her eagerly-awaited Champion of Champions debut in style by winning the Ron Gross memorial tournament in London at the weekend which featured the likes of Jimmy White and Alfie Burden.
The West Midlands cueist became the first woman ever to reach the final stages of a ranking snooker tournament at the 2013 Wuxi Classic and will be determined to fly the flag for women’s snooker by putting in a strong performance in this prestigious event.
Despite the short format of the Group Stage, Evans faces a formidable task against 2005 World Champion Murphy – who has enjoyed a welcome return to form in the early part of the season.
Murphy claimed his eighth ranking title at the China Championship in September, ending a two-year drought, and has also reached the final of the Shanghai Masters and International Championship so far this campaign.
The world number eight knows exactly what it takes to go the distance in this event, having done so 2017 with victory over rival Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.
All the pressure will be on ‘The Magician’ – who is a whopping 1/200 favourite to progress, but he will be fully aware of the threat posed by Evans in this quick-fire race to four.
The match gets underway from around 2.30pm GMT and will be contested over the best of seven frames at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Either China Open champion Neil Robertson or Championship League winner Martin Gould will await the winner in the Group Four Final later in the evening.