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Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 15:51 UK

Safin recovers to end Ward hopes

Artois Championships: Monday 9 June to Sunday 15 June
Coverage:
BBC TV, BBCi, Radio 5 Live and the BBC Sport website.


James Ward in action against Marat Safin
Ward gave the two-time Grand Slam winner a run for his money

Britain's James Ward gave ex-world number one Marat Safin a scare in the first round at the Queen's Club.

Ward took the opening set, but Russia's former US and Australian Open winner recovered to claim a 4-6 6-1 6-4 win.

Lleyton Hewitt, nursing a hip injury, began his quest for a record fifth Artois Championships title with a 6-4 6-4 win over Britain's Josh Goodall.

Another Aussie, Joseph Sirianni, ended the hopes of Alex Bogdanovic with a routine 6-3 6-3 victory.

Safin was broken in the third game by Ward and could not make any inroads on his opponent's serve as he closed out the set to the delight of the Queen's crowd.

But just as he looked set for a limp exit, the mercurial Russian raised his game to break early in the second set to level the match.

He was quickly on top in the decider against the world number 495, breaking early again as he booked his spot in the second round.

Hewitt, the 2002 Wimbledon champion broke Goodall in the third game of the first set and seventh game of the second, and the wildcard never threatened to break back.

Hewitt is chasing a fifth crown at Queen's

"That was a good knock because I felt like I served smartly throughout the match, hit my spots well when I needed to," the Australian said.

"Wimbledon's one of my favourite tournaments of the year, if not my favourite. So, I love this month. I think I always go in with a good attitude, as well, which helps."

The 11th seed, now faces either Xavier Malisse or Daniel Evans.

Croatia's Mario Ancic showed his grass-court pedigree as he cruised past Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador 7-5 6-3.

Ancic proved his talent on grass in 2002 with a stunning win over Roger Federer at Wimbledon, but illness forced him to miss six months of last season.

In other matches, Robby Ginepri beat fellow American Vince Spadea 6-4 7-6 (7-4) to set up a second-round tie against compatriot Roddick.

606: DEBATE
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Spanish ninth seed Fernando Verdasco went through when South Korea's Hyung-Taik Lee retired injured when 3-5 down in the first set.

British number one Andy Murray and Venezuelan Daniel Vallverdu beat Richard Gasquet and Nicolas Mahut 6-4 7-5 (10-4) in their doubles match on Monday.


see also
Birmingham player gets wildcard
05 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Murray wants Wimbledon wildcard
27 May 08 |  Tennis


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