James Ward fights back to progress past Luca Vanni in first round at Wimbledon

James Ward beat Luca Vanni in the first round at Wimbledon this evening

James Ward beat Luca Vanni in the first round at Wimbledon this evening - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Camden’s James Ward is through to the second round of Wimbledon after coming from a set down to beat the Italian Luca Vanni.

Ward, from Eversholt Street near Euston station, was given a wild card into the tournament and was initially given a tough first-round draw against the No8 seed David Ferrer.

However, the Spaniard pulled out due to an elbow injury, being replaced by the world No113 Vanni, who had lost a five-set match in the final round of qualifying.

The pair met on Tuesday and the Italian Vanni won the first set on a tie-break. But Ward, who is ranked No111, fought back impressively and took the second 6-2 in just 29 minutes before going on to secure a 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 victory.

“When Ferrer pulled out people were talking about it being an easy draw facing a ‘lucky loser’,” said Ward. “It wasn’t at all – he [Vanni] would have fancied playing me as well.


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“I was prepared to play Ferrer, everyone knows how he plays. Then I play Vanni. I didn’t know him that well. I’ve seen him on the Challenger Tour but I never played him and he is completely different.”

Ward is scheduled to face Jiri Vesely, the world No45, on Thursday, after the Czech beat Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 in his first-round match.

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The Brit previously reached the second round in SW19 in 2012 before losing to the American Mardy Fish in five sets.

The long-term goal for Ward is to become a top-100 player but, having reached his highest ever ranking of 101 in early January, he remains just outside that barrier. A victory at a Grand Slam is likely to make a big difference, though, when the list is updated on Monday.

Ward was one of five British players to reach the second round and he said: “I think everyone has picked their game up.

“I can’t speak for anyone else, just myself. You just keep knocking on the door. I’ve had a few injuries recently and been sat at the same ranking for a while.

“It’s frustrating but you have to deal with it and get ready for when you do have a chance. That came here and, thankfully, I took it.”

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