Briton James Ward shocks Stanislas Wawrinka at Queen's
By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Queen's Club
Venue: Queen's Tennis Club, London
Date: 6-12 June
Coverage: Live coverage on BBC Two, online (UK only) and BBC HD, Red Button coverage 1230-2000 BST daily, and text commentary (#bbctennis) on BBC Sport website; and commentary on Radio 5 live and sports extra
Ward used his serve to good effect to win past fourth seed Wawrinka
British number two James Ward enjoyed the best win of his career as he outplayed Swiss fourth seed Stanislas Wawrinka in round two of the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club.
The 24-year-old Londoner, ranked 216 in the world, held his nerve in a tense finish to win 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 and set up a third-round clash against defending champion Sam Querrey.
It is lofty company - and not just because American Querrey is 6ft 6in. Ward is through to the third round at Queen's for the first time following victory over the world number 15.
"It's good, it wasn't easy to move on that court," said Ward. "Whoever got control of the rally first pretty much ended up winning it.
"You can't be too defensive on there - and I think he [Wawrinka] played it a little bit too defensive and tried to chip too many balls.
“He's a great player, but it is his first match, and I've been playing a week in Nottingham last week as well to warm up for the tournament, which I think has helped me”
"He caused me a lot more problems when he hit it but the rallies weren't as long in the end, so I think it worked out for me."
Ward, who had come through a first-round tie against fellow Briton Dan Cox on Monday after both men were given wild cards, was the sharper man throughout against Wawrinka.
"Obviously it's his first match on grass, so I have to put things into perspective," Ward added. "He's a great player but it is his first match. I've been playing in Nottingham last week as well to warm up for the tournament, which I think has helped me."
In a tight first set, the Briton was dominant on serve - winning all 20 points behind successful first serves - and deservedly took the tie-break after neither man could fashion a break point.
An encouraging start became a real opportunity when Ward broke for 2-0 in the second set, converting his fourth break point of the game after an increasingly frustrated Wawrinka was warned for smacking a ball away in anger.
With a career-best win looming for Britain's number two, the pressure began to grow, but a couple of excellent cross-court backhands helped him save a break point in game five, before a good first serve and a Wawrinka forehand error saw off two more for 5-2.
Ward was clearly keen to finish things off as swiftly as possible and came close on the Swiss player's serve with two match points, only for a wayward backhand slice and a forehand into the tramlines to let him down.
A solid service game was required and the Briton recovered from 15-30 to close out, saying afterwards: "I felt I held my nerve pretty well. I'm just glad to get the job done in the end."
Ward also revealed that he has recently started working on his fitness with ex-cage fighter Diego Visotzky.
"He's taught me a lot and given me a lot of discipline," said Ward. "And obviously I'm not going to answer him back too many times."
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