Ward edged out in five sets

Published: Saturday 4th July 2015 by The News Editor

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James Ward’s finest-ever grand slam showing has ended in an agonising five-set defeat to Canada’s Vasek Pospisil, with Wimbledon’s second week remaining just out of reach.

Ward’s SW19 heroics were brought to a deflating end by his 25-year-old friend 6-4 3-6 2-6 6-3 8-6, but the big Arsenal fan upheld huge pride in fighting all the way to the death.

The 28-year-old British number four thrilled the south west London crowds by dispatching Luca Vanni and Jiri Vesely for his best-ever grand slam return, but could not quite repeat the feat against the world number 56.

The London cabbie’s son was inundated with good-luck messages from players and officials of his beloved Gunners before his third-round clash with Pospisil, but was just unable to complete what would have proved a remarkable victory.

Dejection wrought all over his face, Ward left Court One admitting it would take time to appreciate the bigger picture.

“Not right now no,” conceded Ward, when quizzed if he could cling to a week when he has broken into the world’s top 100 for the first time and banked £127,000.

Three years ago Ward was forced to sell his Arsenal season ticket just to fund his tennis career and while he will bemoan his fate in failing to progress, the nation will toast a worthy competitor for an overdue breakthrough.

“It’s mixed emotions, I didn’t play to the best of my ability,” he said.

“I gave myself a chance but he lifted and you’ve just got to give credit to him.

“I’m sure I’ll look back on the good things, get ready for Davis Cup and get ready to go again.”

If Davis Cup hero Ward’s singles place for the upcoming quarter-final against France was in any doubt, this Wimbledon adventure has ended the argument.

Ward pulled off a stunning victory over world number 17 John Isner to hand Great Britain the victory over the United States that set up a quarter-final showdown with France.

That Queen’s Club clash follows hot on Wimbledon’s heels, from July 17 to 19, hence Ward’s immediate recalibration.

Another huge challenge that the 28-year-old can also focus on is the US Open. His provisional ranking of 87 means he will secure automatic qualification for September’s Flushing Meadows slam for the first time.

Published: Saturday 4th July 2015 by The News Editor

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