French Open 2014: James Ward makes first round in Paris

James Ward

James Ward has become the first British man in more than 40 years to progress from qualifying through to the French Open first round proper in Paris.

The 27-year-old beat Blaz Rola of Slovenia 4-6 6-4 12-10 to match the achievement of John Lloyd in 1973.

"It's massive because it's a Grand Slam. It's the reason you play tennis. It's special," Ward told BBC Sport.

Fellow Briton Heather Watson, 22, beat Ukraine's Kateryna Kozlova 4-6 6-2 7-5 to reach the final qualifying round.

Watson faces world number 188 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia on Saturday.

After dropping the first set, Ward recovered to level the match against Rola, ranked 75 places above him at 94 in the world.

The British number three claimed a famous victory in a marathon 101-minute decider after he earlier saved two match points.

"I was obviously not thinking good thoughts at that point," Ward said.

"He stepped up and made a couple of good returns - they weren't really my mistakes - but I dug in and played a couple of good points to get back."

Ward joins seventh seed Andy Murray in the main draw, with the first-round matches to be played over three days from Sunday.

Britain's Daniel Cox failed to reach the third qualifying round, losing 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to top qualifying seed Paolo Lorenzi of Italy.

Countrywoman Johanna Konta was defeated 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-0 by Ukrainian Yuliya Beygelzimer, falling just short of making the first round proper.