By Niall Clarke
- Milos Raonic defeats James Ward 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in Queens.
- Murray now the only Brit left in the draw.
James Ward’s hopes of a deep Queens run were shattered by Milos Raonic who came from a set down to win 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
The Canadian was making his return from a foot injury that kept him out for five weeks, and his rustiness showed in the first set.
Wards aggressive approach in the opener rattled Raonic, who could not make any inroads on the Brit’s serve. Ward was rewarded at 5-5, when he claimed the first break of the match. A poor forehand error from Raonic, sealing the deal for 28 year old. With momentum and the crowd behind him, the British number four served out the set 7-5, and talks of a potential upset were now on the cards.
However as the second set went on, Raonic began to shake off his rustiness and find his game. The serve was now firing, and Ward found himself making less and less of an impact on the big serve of the third seed.
As Ward’s first serve percentage dropped, so did his level of tennis and he was made to pay when Raonic broke at 4-3 in the second set. The world number eight then successfully served out the set to level the score.
With the crowd factor a non-issue, Ward struggled to find the level required to topple his higher ranked opponent. Raonic raced to a double break lead in the third set, and all hope in an upset was seemingly lost.
More big serves came crashing down from the Canadian’s racket, and an unreturnable one sealed the match for Raonic, 6-2 in the final set.
It was not a bad match from the British number four, as he took a set and looked dangerous at one point. Unfortunately for him, Raonic began to find his rhythm towards the back end of the second set, and in the end the world number eight had too much quality for Ward.
The loss makes Andy Murray Britain’s only hope in the Queens draw. The top seed will open his tournament against Yen-Hsun Lu on Tuesday.
As for Raonic, he will face Richard Gasquet in the second round. The Frenchman easily dispatched Simone Bolelli 6-1, 6-2 on court one.
Play resumes at Queen’s Club on Tuesday with Murray not expected on Centre Court before 3:30pm