By Philip James
James Ward will face-off against Marton Fucsovics at the Kunming Challenger in China tomorrow, just two days after losing to the same man in the final of the An-Ning Challenger.
Ward, Britain’s second highest ranked male tennis player, enjoyed an excellent run on the Chinese red clay last week and will hope to continue the good form as he stays in the same country on the same surface.
In a match lasting two and a half hours, the Brit eventually lost to Fucsovics 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
But despite having been on court for over four hours longer than his Hungarian opponent during the tournament (including two qualifying and one doubles match) Ward will look on it as a match, and title, he could have won.
London-born Ward lost the first and third set each to a single break whilst missing 11 break points of his own across the two sets.
Thanks to the run Ward rose 51 places in the rankings to 210 while Fucsovics climbed an impressive 130 places to 253rd in the world.
Fucsovics was then awarded a special exempt entrant in to the Kunming singles draw and, as fate would have it, was drawn against Ward; the two will play first on court three in the early hours of the morning UK time.
Ken Skupski stays in Italy this week and partners Andreas Beck in the Roma Open Challenger doubles.
Delgado, who used to play regularly with Skupski, joins them in the draw and will again partner Siljestrom.