Baker last man standing in qualifying


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The Independent Online

Britain is used to having a lone Scot flying the flag in men's singles tournaments around the world. That man is usually Andy Murray, but in the qualifying tournament for the French Open yesterday it was Jamie Baker who was the last man left standing after the opening matches in Paris.

Murray will go straight into the main draw for the tournament, which begins on Sunday, and will be the only Briton in the men's singles unless Baker wins his next two matches. Following his 6-4, 7-6 first-round victory over Germany's Peter Torebko, Baker now faces Daniel Muñoz-De La Nava, who is the Spanish No 16 but is ranked No 130 in the world. That is 76 places above 25-year-old Baker, who is making his first appearance in the tournament.

The two other British men in qualifying, James Ward and Josh Goodall, both fell at the first hurdle. Ward was beaten 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 by the American Denis Kudla, who is ranked 37 places lower than the British No 2 at No 178 in the world rankings. Ward, who was yesterday handed a wild card into next month's Aegon Championships, has now lost in the first qualifying round in Paris three years in succession.

Goodall, the world No 228, was making his fourth attempt to qualify but is also yet to win a match. The 26-year-old was beaten 6-7, 7-5, 7-5 by Japan's Hiroki Moriya, the world No 219.

The women's qualifying competition starts today, with Heather Watson, Laura Robson and Naomi Broady all aiming to join the two highest-ranked Britons, Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong, in the main draw. Watson (world No 109) meets Canada's Sharon Fichman (No 211), Robson (No 126) plays Spain's Estrella Cabeza Candela (No 159), Broady meets Kazakhstan's Sesil Karatantcheva (No 125).