James Ward wins fourth challenger title

By Glenys Furness

  • James Ward wins in Bangalore
  • Jamie Murray & John Peers lose out in Vienna
  • Ken & Neal Skupski lose out in Brest

 

Bangalore, India. James Ward won the fourth title of his career taking the final in straight sets. In Vienna Jamie Murray & John Peers lost a very close final. In France Ken & Neal Skupski also lost a very close final.

After losing in the second round in Mons, Ward skipped the next tournament in Europe before flying out to India for the Bangalore Challenger. Seeded second this would be a make or break event for Ward, who is trying to ensure he is the obvious choice for the second singles player in Belgium next month, when Great Britain face the hosts in the Davis Cup final. When his original opponent withdrew after the draw was made, Ward found himself drawn against Lucky Loser Lakshit Sood. Ward had little bother dispatching Sood for a couple of breadstick sets.

The Brit followed this up with straight set wins on the way to the semi final. The semi proved to be his first major test, as his opponent Daniel Nguyen took the first set 4-6. Ward proved that he is still a force to be reckoned with as he took the next two sets to book a spot in the final. Facing the top seed Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in the final Ward was determined to get the win. The Brit took the first set 6-2, and with the second set proving much closer and a tiebreak looming Ward forced three match points on the Spaniard serve. The Brit took the third one to win the title, his first since July 2013.

Liam Broady and Dan Evans both played in Las Vegas, in the singles Broady lost in the first round and Evans in the second. In doubles they teamed together and progressed to the semi final before losing in straight sets.

Over in France in Brest Ken & Neal Skupski proved their ranking as seeded second they reached the final. Facing the top seeds the Skupski brothers grabbed the first set 6-3, before the team from Netherlands levelled by taking the second set 4-6. The match tiebreak that decided the title was fairly close but the Brits unfortunately lost 6-10.

On the ATP main tour and in Vienna Murray and Peers are playing their last few tournaments together as a team, as they will split after the season ending World Tour Finals. Seeded second Murray & Peers progressed to the final, where they faced unseeded opposition that included Marcelo Melo the new World Ranked #1 in doubles. Murray & Peers took the first set 6-4, they went up a break in the second set and appeared to be cruising. However their opponents forced the second set into a tiebreak, which went against the Brit/Australian pair. Once again a match tiebreak would be needed to settle the title, as with the Brest final this was a relatively close affair but the seeds lost 6-10.

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