Wednesday, June 01, 2011
James Ward

James Ward’s impressive run at the AEGON Trophy continued as he came from a set down to beat American Tim Smyczek and reach the second round.

The 24-year-old Londoner has been impressive form at the Nottingham Festival of Tennis, reaching the first round after battling through three rounds of qualifiers.

And after losing the first set on Centre Court against Smyczek, he recovered to take the match 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 – edging a nail-biting third set tie break 8-6.

The British number two will now face Russian Dmitry Tursunov after he recorded a 7-6, 6-4 victory over Edouard Roger-Vasselin from France.

“I’m still finding my feet on the grass at the moment but I played solidly enough,” said Ward. “I probably could have wrapped it up a bit sooner in the third set but I’m delighted to come through the tie break.

“It’s tough to come through qualifiers and still be feeling good but that’s what I have done and I’m looking forward to playing more matches on the grass.”

World number 74 Tursunov is seeded at number four in Nottingham and has history on grass – twice reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon.

The Russian looked comfortable in his first match of the season on grass and said: “This surface has always suited my game so I look forward to the season coming around.

“I think it’s great that there is a tournament here in Nottingham so that we can start the grass court season as soon as possible.”

Switzerland’s Stephane Bohli produced the biggest shock beating top seed Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-1 while qualifier Conor Niland made it through to the last 16 at the expense of eighth seed Donald Young, winning 6-3, 6-1.

Sloane Stephens produced the result of the day in the women’s draw, beating American counterpart and fourth seed Melanie Oudin 6-3, 6-4.

The 18-year-old, who took the girls doubles title at Wimbledon last year with Hungarian Timea Babos, will now face Portugal’s Michelle Larcher De Brito.

“I’m glad to be back on grass – the clay court season is so long – and I’m working my way up to Wimbledon qualifiers this year which is very exciting,” said Stephens.

Anne Keothavong’s singles challenge was ended by France’s Stephanie Foretz Gacon while Alison Riske beat fifth seed Coco Vandeweghe 6-4, 7-6.

Brit Katie O’Brien took a set off second seed Romina Oprandi from Italy but couldn’t prevent a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 defeat with Olga Govortsova, Tamira Paszek and Eleni Daniilidou taking the remaining quarter-final berths.

In the doubles, there were first round victories for Brit Ken Skupski and his partner, Australian Carsten Ball, as well as Jamie Delgado alongside France’s Roger-Vasselin. Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins won the all-Brit clash against Chris Eaton and Josh Goodall 6-2, 6-4.

Jocelyn Rae and Heather Watson lost their women’s doubles quarter final 7-6, 6-2 against Thailand’s Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and Valeria Savinykh from Russia.



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