By Niall Clarke
- James Ward loses in the first round at Winston Salem
- Aljaz Bedene advances to the second round
- Bedene will face Gilles Simon in round two
Winston Salem, USA- It was a mixed round one for British representatives in Winston Salem with James Ward crashing out and Aljaz Bedene progressing to round two.
Ward kicked off his campaign on Sunday as he prepares for the upcoming US Open where he will receive direct entry in to the main draw. His opponent was Korean youngster Hyeon Chung, who is ranked 71 in the world rankings.
The first set was tight with the players exchanging breaks before needing a tiebreak to settle it. It was a long breaker with very little breaks of serve, but it was Ward who dealt the crucial blow at 7-7 before serving out the set point to take it 9-7.
The momentum continued in to the second set where Ward would create a quick double break advantage. Victory seemed inevitable for the British number four, but a combination of a level drop by Ward and the Korean raising his level meant that the lead was incredibly overturned. Ward would only win one more game after gaining a 3-0 lead and would lose the set 6-4.
With Chung in the ascendancy, the world number 71 would gain an early advantage in the third and would not look back. The 19 year old would serve out the match to claim a three set victory (9)6-7, 6-4, 6-3.
With Ward’s exit, British hopes rested with Bedene who took to the court on Monday to face qualifier Marco Cecchinato. In a rain delayed match, the Italian would offer little resistance to the play of Bedene. A double break in each set for the Brit would allow the world number 58 to come through 6-2, 6-2 and set up a round two clash with top seed Gilles Simon.
A lot of you may know the Frenchman from the Davis Cup tie between France and Great Britain last month. He defeated Ward and tested Andy Murray before the British number one rallied back to win the tie for Great Britain.
The world number 12 is consistent and it will be a testing match for Bedene who will go in as a big under-dog. Can he follow in Murray’s footsteps and defeat Simon?
As for Ward he will head in to the US Open in poor form, but he loves the big stage so can he make a good run in New York next week? All will be revealed.
Bedene will play Simon at approximately 21:30 BST. You can follow his progress via our live-scoring service: Live Scores