By Niall Clarke
- Aljaz Bedene is eliminated in round two of Umag
- James Ward is dumped out in the first round in Bogota
British interest in the main draws of Bogota and Umag were short-lived, as James Ward and Aljaz Bedene both suffered early exits in this week’s ATP action.
Seeded eighth in Bogota, Ward was projected to make the quarter finals of the ATP 250 tournament held in the Colombian capital.
First up was Germany’s Michael Berrer, who is perhaps best known for defeating Rafael Nadal at the start of the year. The 35-year-old, ranked 40 places behind the Brit, got off to a fast start by breaking in the opening game. Berrer was untouchable on serve, and went on to close the set 6-4.
Things began to look even bleaker for Ward when he was broken early in the second set. The 25 year old faced match points on his serve at 5-3, but managed to save them before breaking back the following game. Thus it went all the way to a tiebreak, and an all or nothing shootout for Ward. Berrer seized the advantage and took control of the second set breaker, but after failing to take another two match points, Ward fought back to claim the tiebreak 9-7. We were going the distance.
A tour veteran of 16 years, Berrer has likely been in similar situations to this countless of times, and it showed in the eleventh game of the set. After failing to convert break points at 5-5, the British number three found himself facing another match point. This time the German made no mistake and rounded off the match 6-4, 6-7 (7), 7-5 in two hours to send Ward packing.
British number two, Bedene, fared slightly better on the clay courts of Umag this week, but he like Ward would ultimately suffer an early exit.
The Slovenian born Brit made light work of Croatian wildcard Mate Delic 6-4, 6-3 in round one which set him up nicely for a round two clash with the highly touted Borna Coric.
Bedene would carve out the first break points at 2-1 in the opening set, but Coric would prove to be too steady and instead it would be the Croatian that would break at 3-3. The world number 36 would then serve out the set 6-4.
The Brit was put under more pressure in the second set which eventually would prove to be too much when Coric broke at 3-3. The plucky Bedene managed to break back the following game, but again he could not hold serve as the 18-year-old ramped up the pressure. Coric would face two break points whilst serving for the match, but on the first match point he would take it to claim victory 6-4, 6-4.
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