Nine-time world ladies' champion Reanne Evans narrowly missed out on a first round match with Neil Robertson at the Wuxi Classic, as she was beaten 5-2 by China's Zhu Yinghui in a qualifying match. 

Playing on her ranking event debut, 27 year-old Evans, who secured her place at the event itself with a 5-4 defeat of Thailand's Thepchaiya Un-Nooh earlier this month, lost out to fellow wildcard Zhu in her quest to compete in the first round proper of the tournament.

Evans lost the first frame despite opening with a break of 35, but finally got on the scoreboard by winning the fourth frame with the highest break of the match, 79.

The Dudley player won the fifth frame as well to reduce the Chinese player's lead to one, but Zhu took the next two frames to close out the match.

She tweeted: "Well what a load of plop. Oh well, good experience. Onwards and upwards. Just the beginning."

After winning 61 consecutive women's matches and defeating reigning world champion John Higgins 4–3 at the 2009 Six-red World Championship, Evans was awarded a wild card on the professional main tour for the 2010–11 season, enabling her to enter all ranking events at the qualifying stage. 

This made her the first woman to play on the main snooker tour since Allison Fisher in 1994–95.

Evans failed to win a match throughout her season on the tour, suffering 18 consecutive defeats. She entered Q-School, but was unable to qualify for the main tour in the 2011–12 season.

In the 2012–13 season, Evans won enough Q-School matches to earn a "top-up" place in the qualifying rounds for the 2013 Wuxi Classic, competing as an amateur.

"It took me a while to get into the match because of my lack of experience in these conditions," Evans told reporters.

"I just need more matches in these conditions - that can only sharpen and improve my game. The more comfortable you are, the better you are going to play."

All 128 tour players started in the same qualifying round of the tournament as part of a new format. 

Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy were eliminated in qualifying, while world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan pulled out because of "personal reasons".


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Snooker