James Ward faces struggle to qualify for Australian Open


British number two James Ward went one set down against Spain's Inigo Cervantes-Huegun in the first
round of Australian Open qualifying before rain in Melbourne forced play to be suspended.

Poor weather delayed the start of the match and Ward took a while to get into his rhythm going 4-1 down to the Spaniard ranked 60 places below him at 221.

He faced further problems when Cervantes-Huegun had a point for a 5-1 advantage. But he stayed resilient to claim the sixth game and then hit back himself to take the next three games.

The set went into a tie-break but to the Brit was powerless to resist Cervantes-Huegun who dominated it from the off, taking it 7-2 before rain suspended all play.

The best of three-set match will resume at 23:00GMT on Wednesday. Should Ward advance he will face a further two qualifiers to reach the first round of the Open.

The 24-year-old is hoping to make the main draw in Melbourne for the first time having never made it past the second round of qualifying.

Fellow British players Laura Robson and Naomi Broady are set to start their qualifying campaigns on Thursday.

Robson, seeded 14th in the qualifiers, has been drawn to play 20-year-old Melanie Oudin of the United States and Broady, 21, will face another American, Ashley Weinhold.

Oudin, a former US Open quarter finalist, provides Robson with a stern test in her quest to reach the main draw for a first time.

The 20-year-old slipped from a career high ranking of 31 to 132 in 2011 but did win the mixed doubles at Flushing Meadows in September with partner Jack Sock.

Robson may also curse her luck with the draw with the prospect of playing the top seed in qualifying Vesna Dolonts in the third round.

Broady faces an easier prospect of making it into the second round of qualifying as she faces 21-year-old Weinhold.

Weinhold is ranked 223 in the world, 28 places below Broady and has only played in one Grand Slam event, when receiving a wildcard for the US Open in 2006.

Should Broady make her way passed Weinhold, former junior world number one Noppawan Lertcheewakarn could await in round two.

Four British players have automatically qualified for the draw which takes place at 23:00GMT on Thursday.

Andy Murray is seeded fourth in the men’s singles while Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong and Heather Watson also qualified as of right for the women’s draw.

Robson, who turns 18 later this month, told the Australian Open website she prefers to qualify for the Grand Slam’s rather than receive a wildcard.

"It's always better to qualify, she said. “"I've been lucky enough to get wildcards into Wimbledon for the last few years, but hopefully I won't need one this year. I'm going to play qualifying here and hopefully I'll do well.

"It was very pleasing [to win my first Grand Slam main draw matches last year], especially playing at the US Open because I qualified and then won my first-round match. That was a big deal for me.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little