Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Queen's Battle of Britain Possible; Ward and Murray in Last Four

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Queen's Battle of Britain Possible; Ward and Murray in Last Four

Article excerpt

BRITISH number two James Ward last night succeeded where Rafael Nadal failed as he marched through to the semi-finals of the AEGON Championships at Queen's Club.

Ward joined Andy Murray in the last four, and given they are on opposite sides of the draw, that set up the possibility of an all-British final.

That would be remarkable, given Ward stands at 216th in the world rankings, but he added to his impressive list of victims this week by beating Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in three thrilling sets, 6-2 6-7 (14/16) 6-4. Nadal was surprisingly ousted by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, as the Spaniard took the opening set 7-3 on a tie-break but crumbled after Tsonga levelled the match.

Tsonga won 6-7 6-4 6-1 and awaits 24-year-old Ward today.

Ward recovered superbly from the blow of letting seven match points slip away in the second set against Mannarino, and then falling a break behind in the decider.

After sealing his victory the only disappointment for Ward was in learning that Nadal had lost, denying him the chance to face the world number one and reigning Wimbledon, US Open and French Open champion.

The closing games of Ward's match were watched by Prime Minister David Cameron, who had hot-footed it to Court One from Centre Court after witnessing Nadal's exit. Ward, who at lunchtime had completed a three-set win over defending champion Sam Querrey, led Mannarino by a set and a break and looked set for an impressively straightforward victory against the world number 54.

The semi-finals were within sight for the player who recently enlisted a cage fighter to train him, but Mannarino hit back and won three games in a row to force Ward to serve at 6-5 behind to stay in the set.

He survived a deuce to force the tiebreak, but then spurned the flurry of match points which came his way.

And when the set went to Mannarino, it was easy to envisage him sprinting away with the third, more so when he broke and led 2-0. …

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