James Ward vs Jiri Vesely match report: British No 3 joins Andy Murray in third round after beating Czech 66 places above him in rankings

World No 111 defeats 21-year-old Vesely 6-2 7-6 (7/4) 3-6 6-3 to reach the third round

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The Independent Online

British No 4 James Ward achieved one of the best results of his career by defeating the powerful Czech Jiri Vesely to reach a Grand Slam third round for the first time.

Ward’s No 2 court was half empty while Andy Murray opened play over on Court 1 but as he fought to win the match in the fourth set, there was huge support and it clearly helped him to raise his game. Ward broke serve in the fourth game of the set, survived three break points in the fifth game and served out for a third round tie against Canadian Vasek Pospisil or Italian Fabio Fognini.

Though the giant 6ft 6in Vesely, a former world junior champion who beat Frenchman Gael Monfils to reach the third round here last year, looked a powerful threat, Ward took control immediately, with three aces in his first service game setting the pace of the first set. He immediately broke the Czech’s service and hardly looked back, with a string of passing shots.

But it was in the second set that Ward needed to muster supreme mental strength. He spurned seven break points in two games - including six in a key eighth game of the set which Vesely finally won after four deuces – and was sent into a tiebreak which 21-year-old Vesely initially commanded with the first mini-break. Ward’s composure was critical and he won the tiebreak 7-4.

The Czech disappeared from the court for an extended break after the second set and returned with new impetus, which saw the 28-year-old Briton’s game fall away in the third. There were two double faults from Ward in the game which saw his service broken for the first time and lose that set. But Ward – whose marathon five-set victory over 17th ranked American John Isner in Great Britain’s Davis Cup tie against the USA hinted at his upset potential earlier this year – regained his composure to win 6-2, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours, 37 minutes.

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