Murray hails Ward achievement

Banbury Cake: James Ward achieved an historic victory James Ward achieved an historic victory

James Ward became the first British man to come through qualifying at the French Open for 41 years with a nail-biting victory over Slovenia's Blaz Rola.

Not since John Lloyd in 1973 had a British player survived the men's qualifying draw at Roland Garros but Ward saved two match points on his way to a 4-6 6-4 12-10 win.

Ward had never won a match before at Roland Garros but was impressive in his first two qualifiers, particularly in a second-round win over America's Ryan Harrison.

Rola is ranked at a career-high 94th and has won a lot of matches this season, and he broke the Ward serve to take the opener on his fifth set point.

Ward has had some notable wins on clay, particularly against American Sam Querrey in Davis Cup in February, and he fought back well to level the match.

He had the upper hand in the decider when he broke for 4-3 and then saw a match point go begging.

That came back to bite him when he served for the match as Rola broke back, and it was Ward under pressure at 7-6 behind.

But the Londoner, who had never qualified at a grand slam before, held firm to save two match points and then took his third chance to break for 11-10.

Serving for the match a second time he took the chance, clinching victory on his second match point when Rola sent a shot over the baseline.

Andy Murray delayed his press conference to watch his Davis Cup team-mate, and the Scot said: "It was great.

"They are the sort of matches you need to win, to fight through and find a way to win.

"There were a lot of tough moments in that third set obviously serving for it and saving match points. It was a long, tough match.

"But if you want to break through and get on to the tour, everyone goes through them. It's a big win for him."

There was disappointment, though, for Dan Cox, who lost his second-round clash against qualifying top seed Paolo Lorenzi 6-3 7-6 (7/4).

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